LONDON, March 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Two of Beam Suntory's high profile US brands will not be appearing in Europe for the foreseeable future as the group focusses on other priorities, one of the firm's senior executives has revealed.
In an exclusive interview with just-drinks, Albert Baladi, the group's Europe, Middle East & Africa president, said plans to release Pinnacle Vodka and Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl range in the continent had been put on ice. "We have concluded to put Pinnacle on the back burner as far as launching in Europe is concerned," he said. "Against the rest of our priorities, this wasn't one of the things we wanted to put at the top."
Before the company was taken over by Suntory Holdings last year, Beam Inc paid US$605m for Pinnacle, along with Calico Jack rum brands in 2012. Asked whether there were concerns over the saturated vodka market, Baladi said: "It is a crowded market. You have to think, where will I get the best return for my investments? Compared to the big players, we're a smaller company with fewer staff and people and therefore we have to be very, very focussed."
Baladi said the same applies to its Skinnygirl brand, which is currently available in the US, Canada and Australia. "There is a space and a need for lower-calorie drinks, but we don't see that as being the top priority for us to put our resources behind," he added. Beam acquired the Skinnygirl brand in 2011 for an undisclosed sum.
Baladi said he regarded Beam Suntory as a "global whisk(e)y powerhouse", based on its range of Scotch, American and Japanese whiskies. However, he denied that such a range would lead to cannibalisation in some markets. "Japanese whiskey outside of Japan is still very, very small, it's still a niche sector," Baladi said. "And, even with Bourbon, all the work that we and Brown-Forman have done over the last 15 years, it's still only 10% of total (global) whisk(e)y."
To read just-drinks' exclusive interview with Albert Baladi, click here.
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