At Beam Global Spirits & Wine (BGSW), the spotlight is on the world. Headquartered in the US, it offers libations with global origins: Canadian Club Whisky from our northern neighbor; Courvoisier Cognac from France; Kummerling Liqueur from Germany; VOX Vodka from The Netherlands; Laphroaig Scotch from Scotland; and Sauza Tequila with roots dating back to the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico. The company's Jim Beam is the #1 selling branded bourbon in the world. From The Netherlands, BGSW's DeKuyper is the #1 cordial brand in the US. The company's vast portfolio of branded beverages are bound to show up at holiday parties hosted by Beam Inc., its owner.
To expand its already vast products portfolio, the spirits maker is looking at new niche markets and extending its reach into areas of its business where it's a top producer. To this end, BGSW in 2011 acquired low-calorie spirits brand Skinnygirl, maker of the ready-to-drink Skinnygirl Margarita. Created by Real Housewives reality TV star and chef Bethenny Frankel, the line's beverages contain all natural ingredients and no preservatives. BGSW is banking on Skinnygirl to deliver high returns and provide a platform for continued growth. While the brand's distribution is mostly focused in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, BGSW aims to expand Skinnygirl's availability throughout the rest of the US and internationally. The deal follows the company's purchase of premium spirit EFFEN Vodka from Sazerac. Adding EFFEN has helped to round out the Beam vodka roster.
BGSW shed other parts of its business in 2010 to help fund these deals. The company brought in more than $49 million by selling non-strategic German spirits brands and the Cockburn port brand and inventory.
The spirits maker's parent also sold off its Acushnet golf business in 2011, citing that it was focusing on its profitable BGSW business, which accounted for 37% of 2010 sales. Selling the maker of Titleist golf balls and FootJoy footwear to Fila Korea will allow Beam Inc. to further invest in its spirits portfolio, which has fared well during the economic downturn growing from $2.5 billion in 2008 to $2.7 billion in 2010.
To retain its global reach and stay relevant in international markets, BGSW is part of a 50-50 joint venture, Maxxium Worldwide, with Scotland's The Edrington Group. As part of the agreement, Maxxium handles the overseas distribution of Beam's products. (V&S and Rémy Cointreau had also been partners in the venture, but they pulled out in 2009.) In addition, Beam has a partnership with Starbucks to make and market a coffee-flavored liqueur carrying the Starbuck's name. – less