Distell takes direct control over its wines and spirits distribution in the UK

Distell Group, South African-based wine, spirits and Cider Company said it would take over the marketing and distribution of its brands in the UK, ending a contract relationship with three UK distributors.

The maker of Amarula cream, Savanna cider and other spirit brands said it will bring its brands under direct control starting on 9th January 2017. Distell had been using three UK distributors – SHS, Cellar Trends and Brand Phoenix, to market its products in the country.

Distell, which is Africa’s biggest wine, spirits and cider producer revealed plans earlier this year to double its size by 2020. In June 2014, it built a $5 million bottling plant in Ghana as part of plans to ramp up investment in Africa. And in July of the same year, it acquired a 26% stake in Kenyan spirits company, KWA Holding East Africa Limited (KWAL) for KES860m (US$9.8m). KWAL had been a bottler of some of Distell’s brands in Kenya for over 16 years. In the USA, Distell said it had begun the process of fully integrating its export portfolio with Terlato Wine Group, a leading distributor in the country.

The company noted it had identified the UK as a “key region for growth” prompting it to invest heavily in infrastructure, both in the UK and in the wider Europe over the past six months.

In its most recent full-year financial results ending in June 2016, Distell reported volume declines in the UK due to retailer’s rationalization of wine stocks, along with the company’s decision to exit third-party contract volumes of wines and spirits.

As a result of the changes, the company will support all marketing, sales and service from its UK office in East Kilbride in Scotland, while its European head office will move to a new office in Richmond, London from 10th October.

Joseph Walsh, Distell’s Commercial Director for the UK and Ireland said, the decision to “bring its distribution and marketing in-house reflected its confidence in the UK market.

This has been an extremely detailed and considered process and it reflects our confidence in the UK market and we look forward to strengthening our relationships in the UK trade as we look to drive value for the trade and consumers in the market,” he said.

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