By Andy Young

After weeks of speculation the deal which sees Sazerac acquire SouthTrade from Pinnacle Drinks has finally been confirmed.

SouthTrade was founded in 2002 and developed its importing, marketing and distribution of a number of brands. Then in 2013 Pinnacle Drinks, a subsidiary of Endeavour Drinks Group, took a controlling stake in the company. It’s that stake that Sazerac has now bought and SouthTrade co-founder Tony Stubley told TheShout he is very happy with the deal.

“These things take some time and so we’ve been working on it for a long while. But it is a good change for the business,” Stubley said.

“There have been a few doors that have remained closed or been harder to open because of the Woolworths ownership, so it means that some of those other channels are easier for us now.”

SouthTrade will still work with Pinnacle, with Stubley adding: “We are going to represent their brand in the on-trade and we’ve developed a very good relationship with them, so that definitely helps.

He added: “The whole philosophy of the business doesn’t change. If there are brands from anywhere that fit our culture and match our portfolio then we will look at them. Obviously Sazerac has such a massive portfolio there are obvious opportunities there as well.”

But the deal does not mean that SouthTrade will now be exclusively tied to Sazerac’s brands. 

“It’s critical to this business and it’s totally understood by everybody involved that we are primarily offering a broad portfolio of premium brands and there is no intention to become a Sazerac company only. That would kill the business and that is not in anyone’s interest,” Stubley told TheShout.

The change of owner also coincides with an executive change, with Ray Noble the former marketing director at Bacardi-Martini Australia set to join SouthTrade as managing director in early October. It’s a move that Stubley is delighted with.

“It’s fantastic to have Ray. We went through quite a process searching both in Australia and overseas, but right from the beginning, particularly Dave Higgins and I were very much in favour of Ray. He’s a perfect cultural fit and he’s guy we’ve known and respected for a long while, he’s going to be great for this company, I can’t wait for him to start.”

Last month Mark Brown, the President and CEO of Sazerac told TheShout that the company is looking to develop its brands in Australia and that he was open to bringing more of the Sazerac portfolio to Australia.

“We really enjoy seeling our brands in Australia and we are very appreciative of the reception they have received from Australian consumers, it is very much appreciated,” Brown said.

The Sazerac portfolio contains a number of different bourbon brands including Pappy Van Winkle and Eagle Rare and Brown added that “eventually, stocks permitting, we will be selling the full range of our whiskeys” in Australia.

Sazerac has been an acquisitive company since 1989 and recently bought Southern Comfort, Paddy’s Irish Whiskey and The Last Drop Distillers.

The Shout Team

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

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