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Exclusive: Alain Barbet Tapped To Lead Berentzen’s U.S. Operations

February 11, 2013

Alain Barbet, former chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Americas and president, spirits at Palm Bay International, has been tapped to lead the U.S. operations of German drinks company Berentzen AG.

Barbet will seek to expand Berentzen’s presence in the U.S. market with a portfolio led by the Berentzen liqueur line, which includes apple, pear and cherry flavors. The main product is Berentzen Apple liqueur, which does around 10,000 cases in the U.S. market.

In addition to Berentzen Apple, Barbet will look to develop the company’s Pushkin vodka brand. He will work closely with Berentzen’s U.S. importer, South Carolina-based Total Beverage Solution, overseeing all marketing and sales strategy. Barbet also will assemble his own team, which will include a marketing director and sales director.

Berentzen has total annual revenues of around $200 million, doing business mainly in Germany and neighboring markets such as the Netherlands and Czech Republic. The portfolio also includes domestic spirits brands Doornkaat, Strothmann and Bommerlunder. In addition, Berentzen is a major bottler for Pepsi-Cola in Germany.

Recently, Berentzen took the decision to bolster its overseas profile, choosing to concentrate on the U.S., China and Turkey. “The U.S. is now one of the three strategic markets where we have decided to establish our own organization to support the development of our brands,” said Berentzen chairman Frank Schuebel. “U.S. consumers have shown a growing interest in flavored spirits—a perfect fit for our Berentzen Apple, Pear and Cherry liqueurs.”

Barbet was tapped by Palm Bay in 2010, where he oversaw the growth of Skinnygirl Margarita, which grew from zero to 150,000 cases in a 12-month period before being acquired by Beam, Inc. in March 2011. Prior to that, as chairman and CEO at Pernod Ricard Americas, he managed the integration of Absolut vodka and achieved record operating profits. Barbet had also previously served as president and CEO of Pernod Ricard USA.

“Alain Barbet is an industry veteran who has played a critical role in the success of some of the world’s leading spirits and wine brands,” said Torsten Timm, managing director of Berentzen’s international division. “His focus will be in helping to grow our brands in a market where we’ve had a presence and historic success—and bringing our company’s footprint to the next level.”


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