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Interview, Part 2: Campari Group CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz

November 4, 2021

In the second part of our interview, Campari Group CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz discusses the launch of the company’s new high-end Rare unit, as well as M&A opportunities and the Italian spirits player’s aspirations to upweight its presence in key Asian markets.

SND: Earlier this year, you formed a new Rare unit within Campari to target upmarket opportunities with brands including Russell’s Reserve, Appleton Estate, and Glen Grant, among others. How is that effort going so far?

Kunze-Concewitz: We’re at the beginning. The Rare team started trading in Q2, so they have only about one and a half quarters of trading under their belt. We’re in three states: Florida, Texas, and California. But so far things are looking good. If you look at how our high-end expressions are performing, they’re growing much faster in the states where the Rare division is operating than in the broader market, and we see quite an acceleration versus both 2020 and 2019. So it’s more robust, and what’s interesting is we’re gaining distribution in both on- and off-premise outlets where we wouldn’t have been normally, much more on the premium side.

SND: Two of your more recent acquisitions, Bisquit & Dubouché Cognac and Lallier Champagne, are also part of the Rare portfolio. How are their prospects, and are more deals on the way?

Kunze-Concewitz: Those two brands are another step in the right direction to premiumize the overall portfolio. They’re small brands now, but over the long term we have quite high ambitions for them. We’re going to build them in a solid fashion, really toward the top tier of the market. We know we have very high quality products and there’s scarcity in both those categories in the U.S., so our timing seems to be pretty good as well. As far as other acquisition opportunities, anything which helps us premiumize our portfolio in key markets is very interesting to us.

SND: As you look across your global footprint, where are the biggest growth opportunities moving forward?

Kunze-Concewitz: Our biggest opportunity is in Asia Pacific. When you compare us with our peers, Asia Pacific has much smaller weight within the overall group in terms of sales and profitability. We’ve done quite a bit to build the infrastructure and the capability to tackle that opportunity. We’ve moved our headquarters, recruited new teams, changed importers in some markets, formed joint ventures, and what you can see is that we’ve grown at a very strong rate the past two years. In China this year we’re doubling our sales. So things are encouraging, but of course we acknowledge we’re coming from a low base, so there remains a lot to be done.

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