Morrison Bowmore Distillers, the Scotch whisky company owned by Japan's Suntory group, is to distribute the various brands owned by Italy's Campari group in the UK duty free and travel retail sectors, adding to its existing agreement with the company.
Morrison Bowmore already handles the UK distribution and marketing of Campari's brands such as Cinzano, Skyy and Cinzano itself via a joint venture company, Fior Brands, formed in May this year. The duty free/travel retail distribution, which will begin on 6 January 2003, will be handled solely by Morrison Bowmore and not by Fior Brands, however.
James Bewsher, Morrison Bowmore's director of duty free operations, said: "This development builds on the success of the MBD portfolio and the growth we have managed in this sector. The addition of the Campari, Skyy Vodka and Cinzano brands adds new and exciting dimensions to our plans for the travel retail and duty free business. It's a very encouraging way to start 2003."
Enzo Casati, regional director of the Campari group, added: "Morrison Bowmore Distillers has shown drive and innovation in the retail travel sector. MBD has been awarded these brands on the strategic development of their business in this sector. The Campari brands will also benefit from the existing warehousing and logistic arrangement with Fior Brands. We are confident of improving the profile and achieving new growth for our brands within the travel sector."
The distribution agreement with MBD is the latest move by Campari to extend its international presence. The Italian company has been busy lately, launching a number of new products in international markets, and in particular in the ready-to-drink (RTD) segment.
Skyy Blue,a vodka pre-mix, was launched in the US earlier this year, while Campari Mixx was introduced in Italy and Switzerland, and the latest addition to the Campari RTD portfolio is Cinzano Five, a mixture of spirits with lemon, pineapple and orange flavours.
Targeted initially at the South African market, Cinzano Five is designed to appeal to "young, adventurous, trend-setting men and women", and is positioned firmly at the premium end of the RTD market. The Cinzano brand is already well-known in South Africa, and the RTD variant will look to build on the substantial brand awareness.
But it is not clear as yet whether Campari will add these RTD brands to Fior's portfolio in UK, arguably the most important market for RTD products. While there is potential for the Skyy Blue to do well, there is already substantial competition from other vodka pre-mixes in the UK, and while both Campari and Cinzano are well-known in the UK, they are brands not normally associated with the younger drinkers targeted in other countries.