By James Atkinson
Suntory Australia today announced that its Magners Cider distribution deal with Ireland and UK-based drinks manufacturer C&C International will end on January 1, 2014.
Suntory said it and C&C it had decided amicably to end the relationship due to a change in Suntory's business direction and C&C's focus on Magners draught expansion.
The cider brand will move across to the Bacardi Lion Australia portfolio from the beginning of next year.
Suntory Australia managing director Ian Atherton said: "Our renewed business focus will be on maintaining and growing our portfolio of premium spirits and liqueur brands. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with C&C International to launch and maintain brand presence for Magners over the past nine years."
"Suntory will remain committed to achieving Magners' objectives for the remainder of the year. It will be business as usual over the next six months. Suntory wish C&C International the best of luck for their future plans for Magners in Australia."
Suntory launched Magners into the Australian market in 2004 and has built the brand solidly over the last nine years into one of the country's leading cider brands.
Magners brand principal Anthony Brady said: "Suntory has done a fantastic job successfully launching and building Magners in Australia. We now have a renewed focus for Magners and believe Bacardi Lion is the perfect partner to help drive our expansion."
Bacardi Lion managing director Colin Rochester said: “The addition of Magners Original will complement Bacardi Lion’s portfolio of premium and super-premium global iconic brands. We are thrilled to have formed a partnership with C&C Group and excited to enter the cider category with a brand that has such great credentials.”