Coca-Cola Amatil enters spirits market

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Australia's biggest soft drinks maker Coca-Cola Amatil has expanded
its alcoholic beverages portfolio through a new agreement with
premium spirits distributor Maxxium.

Under the agreement, CCA's joint venture Pacific Beverages will sell and distribute Maxxium's premium spirits, including the Jim Beam, Canadian Club, Cointreau and Absolut Vodka brands.

Sydney-based CCA, which is 32 per cent-owned by Coca-Cola, has been diversifying its product range over recent years to include water, fruit juice, coffee, iced teas and packaged ready-to-eat fruit and vegetable products.

It announced its first move into alcoholic drinks in August when it formed the Pacific Beverages venture with global number two brewer SAB Miller.

It started selling imported beers such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Miller Genuine Draft in Australia this month.

Under the new deal, it will also sell a range of alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages, including the popular Jim Beam & Cola, through an agreement with Maxxium shareholder Beam Global Spirits & Wine Australia.

It plans to manufacture the products at its Adelaide plant from April 2007, requiring an investment of less than $15 million.

CCA managing director Terry Davis said the move into ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages and spirits was a logical extension of the business.

"We are rapidly expanding our presence in alcohol in the premium beverages market, a place we understand well."

He added that agreements with Maxxium and Beam Global Spirits & Wine Australia would maximise future opportunities at the premium end of the market, delivering the highest return on the lowest capital risk.

The alcoholic ready-to-drink sector has grown by more than 15 per cent per annum over the last five years and is worth an estimated $4.7 billion, according to Euromonitor..

Coca-Cola is also rumoured to be considering a bid for New Zealand's Independent Liquor group, which makes a range of alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages including Woodstock Bourbon.

The business was put up for sale following the death of its founder and is expected to fetch around A$1.2 billion.

Related topics Manufacturers Beer & cider Carlsberg

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