Absolut Mixes with Jim Beam in Distribution Venture

21 March 2001

Vin & Sprit, the Swedish-headquartered owner of world number one vodka brand Absolut has forged a deal with the Jim Beam Brands division of Illinois-based Fortune Brands to form a new business which will distribute both companies’ alcoholic drinks.

The joint venture, Future Brands, will have a total sales volume of twenty million cases, making it the second largest alcohol distributor in the US (behind the UK’s Diageo). Aside from its eponymous bourbon, the Jim Beam division also markets Canyon Road wines and DeKuyper cordials.

Under the terms of the deal, V&S will pay $375m for a 10% holding in Jim Beam and a further $270m for a 49% stake in Future Brands. Jim Beam, on the other hand, will hold a majority share in the new company and will put its US distribution network and sales staff at the joint venture’s disposal.

In addition, V&S will also pay around $100m to join Maxxium, an international drinks co-venture set up in 1999, in a bid to raise the global presence of its member-brands. The Stockholm-headquartered company will become an equal partner alongside founding firms Jim Beam, Rémy Cointreau and Highland Distillers.

News source: Wall Street Journal