Brown-Forman has announced an organisational structure change within its international business and the sale of three brands.
The distiller has created Brown-Forman Europe and Brown-Forman Emerging International. It will divest The Early Times, Canadian Mist, and Collingwood.
Australia will become part of the Emerging International Division, alongside Global Travel Retail (GTR); Asia; New Zealand; Latin America; and Russia/CIS/Turkey/India/Middle East and Africa.
The markets in the Europe Division include: UK/Ireland; Germany/Czechia; France/Spain/Portugal; Poland; and the greater Europe markets that make up Developing Europe.
The distiller said the overall goal was “unlocking growth potential for markets, brands, and people”. The changes are effective August 1.
Marshall Farrer was named President of Brown-Forman Europe and Thomas Hinrichs was named President of Brown-Forman Emerging International.
“As we seek to deliver balanced geographic growth with competitive routes to consumers, we must have an agile and simplified organizational structure,” said Lawson Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer, Brown-Forman Corporation. “Thomas and Marshall are innovative and resourceful leaders who reflect the values of Brown-Forman.”
Hinrichs has 23 years experience at Brown-Forman and is described as having “deep knowledge of what it takes to drive growth in emerging markets”.
“He is highly valued for his global mindset and strategic focus and commitment to culture and engagement,” Brown-Forman added.
Farrer brings 22 years of experience to this role as a leader of regions and brands, most recently leading Developed APAC and GTR.
Brown-Forman sells three brands
Brown-Forman has announced it is selling three of its brands – the Early Times, Canadian Mist, and Collingwood, plus the Canadian Mist production assets – to Sazerac.
Canadian Mist is the third-highest selling Canadian whisky brand in the world.
“Early Times and Canadian Mist have been valued brands in our portfolio for many years, and they each have played significant roles in our company’s history,” said Brown-Forman CEO Lawson Whiting. “We are thankful to all the people who have distilled, bottled, shipped, marketed, and distributed these brands with care over the years.”
The distiller said the sale reflected the “continued evolution of the company’s portfolio strategy to focus on premium brands”.
“Brown-Forman has actively managed the shape and contents of its portfolio over the last decade and a half through developing, acquiring, and divesting various businesses and brands,” it noted. “The company believes this portfolio management, alongside innovation, will allow it to continue to focus on the best growth prospects and value creation over the long term.”
Early Times, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, was the first brand Brown-Forman purchased in 1923. Canadian Mist joined its portfolio in 1971 and was the company’s first production operations outside of the United States.
“We are delighted to acquire such iconic brands as well as the Canadian Mist Distillery,” said Sazerac CEO Mark Brown. “Brown-Forman has done an excellent job building these brands over the years and we expect to invest in the brands and grow their sales in the coming years.”
The sale of these brands is expected to close later this summer. It follows Sazerac buying 19 brands in January from two spirits companies: New York-based Star Industries and New Jersey-based Black Prince Distillery.
The brands purchased were: Georgi, Majorska, Llord’s, Alexis, Alexi, Black Prince, Blansac, Caribaya, Carnaby’s, Clyde’s, Devil Springs, Donegal, Dorado, Duncan’s, Little John, McColl’s, R.J. Hodges, Sir Francis and Wild Flame.
In 2018, Sazerac purchased 19 brands from Diageo.
The brands purchased were: Seagram’s V.O. Seagram’s 83, Seagram’s Five Star, Myers’s, Romana Sambuca, Yukon Jack, Booth’s, Goldschlager, Popov, Relska, The Club, Black Haus, Peligroso, Grind, Piehole, Parrot Bay, Stirrings, Scoresby and John Begg.
New Aussie MD hits the ground running
Eveline Albarracin joined Brown-Forman as Managing Director ANZPI in January and has hit the ground running, tackling the dual challenges of the bushfires and COVID-19.
While it’s been a difficult time for the drinks industry since she commenced in the role, she revealed in an interview for the Drinks Association that there have been highlights too.
“The ability to be able to shift quickly to mobilise teams, motivate our people with a vision of hope, combined with a positive, can-do attitude to get through all situations together, have definitely been highlights,” she said.
“The resilience and strong capability of our people to come together and do what is needed has been amazing. Our brands are trusted and the Brown-Forman team has continued to engage directly with our customers and consumers. We have assured them we will support them during the tough times and assist them to rebuild.”
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