By Andrew Starke

Jose Cuervo will migrate from the Suntory stable to Diageo early next year (2010) as the latter leverages off its close relationship with the world’s top selling tequila brand globally.

Sources in the liquor industry have told TheShout that Suntory has been given 30 days to cease distributing Jose Cuervo in Australia, with all distribution rights likely to revert to Diageo in January.

The same sources allege that Diageo sales representatives have already started to offer Jose Cuervo as part of their portfolio of brands available to the trade.

In response to a number of questions from TheShout, a Diageo spokesperson issued a statement which hinted at a new arrangement without confirming any of the details.

“Diageo and Jose Cuervo International have had a successful relationship at a global level for many years, in a number of markets around the world,” said the statement.

“It therefore makes sense that we would consider a relationship with Jose Cuervo in Australia.  However at this point in time, there are no formal agreements in place between Jose Cuervo and Diageo Australia. We are not in a position to make any further comment at this stage.”

A spokesperson for Suntory said the group had no comment.

Jose Cuervo Tequila is imported and marketed in the United States by Diageo North America, a subsidiary of Diageo, while speculation has been rife in the northern hemisphere that the company should make the most of its clean balance sheet and strong cashflow to do some strategic deals.

Analysts in the UK and USA have recently suggested that Diageo would look to acquire control of, or build its holdings in, any one of four strategic assets: Moët Hennessy, Jose Cuervo, United Spirits or Ketel One.

Jose Cuervo is owned and run by the Beckmann family – heirs of the Cuervo family – with Juan-Domingo “Dobel” Beckmann the sixth-generation head of the company.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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