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Bacardi Acquires St-Germain, Aiming To Make Brand Into Global Player

January 8, 2013

Bacardi Ltd. has acquired St-Germain elderflower liqueur, one of the market’s fastest-growing spirits brands, from the Cooper Spirits Co. Terms of the deal between the two private companies weren’t disclosed.

Robert Cooper, who developed St-Germain and is president of Cooper Spirits Co., told Shanken News Daily that he did the deal with Bacardi because the rum giant’s global prowess would help St-Germain become a player on the world stage.

“Bacardi gives St-Germain the resources it deserves,” Cooper said. “Both in the U.S. and internationally, Bacardi is fully committed to maintaining what we’ve done with the brand while building upon it in a way that we, as a small company, would’ve been unable to do.” Cooper said he would remain involved with the brand as a “guardian.”

Introduced in the U.S. market in 2007, St-Germain ($30-$35 a 750-ml.) quickly became a favorite of bartenders and mixologists in key metro markets around the country. Over the past few years, though, the ultra-premium French import has garnered a significant presence in the off-premise, resulting in sharp volume gains. After advancing by more than 50% to 65,000 cases in 2011, St-Germain won its first Impact “Hot Prospect” award. Late last year, Cooper told Shanken News Daily that the brand was on track to sell 85,000-90,000 cases in the U.S. in 2012, and that he expected its impressive growth to continue in 2013. “I think, both in the U.S. and worldwide, we’ll grow another 50% at minimum,” he said.

With the U.S. currently accounting for more than 80% of St-Germain’s sales, the brand’s presence outside its biggest market is small. But Bacardi is aiming to change that. “St-Germain is a natural fit for our portfolio, and we look forward to sharing it with consumers globally,” said Ed Shirley, president and CEO of Bacardi Ltd., in a statement. Cooper said that putting St-Germain into Bacardi’s formidable global distribution pipeline would give the brand the vehicle it needs for marked expansion, as opposed to the patchwork of small distributors that he had been using outside the U.S.

Meanwhile, Cooper says Bacardi’s expertise in the on-premise should allow St-Germain to maintain favor among mixologists while also permitting the brand to expand its on-premise activities. “Bacardi understands the critical importance and stature of mixologists and will further develop the initiatives we’ve started,” Cooper said. “With the resources of Bacardi, this is really exciting.”

 

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