Suntory Moving Alcoholic Beverage HQ to US

FILED APRIL 21, 2014

Dear Client:

A source confirmed to WSD that Suntory Holdings is moving the headquarters for its alcoholic beverage business to the US after reports from Japan surfaced over the weekend. The paper also claims Beam will become a subsidiary called Beam Suntory, which will be headed by current Beam chief Matt Shattock. Yasunori Aiba, Suntory Holdings executive vp and president of Suntory Liquors, will join the directorial board of the new company.

Moreover, international business strategies for all alcoholic beverage will be transferred to the new headquarters. Sources claim Suntory aims to increase overseas sales using Beam's route to market channels.

Recall, we reported late Friday (see WSD 04-18-2014) that Beam executives cfo Bob Probst, corporate controller Leo Mierzwicki and Bill Newlands, president of North American region, will all be resigning from the company in the coming months. An SEC filing states that Bob and Leo are resigning due to the acquisition's impact on their roles at the company, and Bill will remain a consultant for the company.

WSD has learned that in addition to these three, Mindy MacKenzie, Beam's svp and chief performance officer, has announced her resignation as well. More importantly though, WSD hears the executives' resignations are not solely because Suntory is moving in, but rather an "undertone of discomfort" that existed prior to the acquisition.


In other news from Beam, the company is debuting the first-ever TV commercial for Knob Creek as a part of a campaign for the brand that will ultimately include two TV spots and a focus on digital. The TV ad, which will air nationally throughout 2014, plays up its age, flavor and heritage by featuring Booker Noe, the creator of the brand.

Beam hopes that putting the brand on TV will boost Knob Creek sales as it has in the past for other brands. Maker's Mark, for example, grew sales 12% during the year in which its first TV advertisement was launch and 18% the year after, reports WSJ. All in all, Beam is tripling the marketing spend on the brand from $2.7 million in 2013.

Knob Creek's first TV ad comes just a week after competitor Woodford Reserve made its debut on the small screen. Woodford's campaign centers around the type of people who drink Woodford, but the internet has taken issue with the first commercial for being sexist.

A few other brands that have made their first foray into TV in the last two years include: E&J Gallo's New Amsterdam, Pernod Ricard's Avion Tequila, William Grant & Sons' Sailor Jerry, Fuzzy's Vodka, Sidney Frank Importing Co.'s Jagermeister, Beam's Skinnygirl and Campari's Wild Turkey.


DIAGEO CHATEAU & ESTATE WINES HAS ADDED Chateau Minuty roses to its portfolio this month. DC&E will being importing Chateau Minuty's Prestige rose 2013 (srp $30), M de Minuty rose 2013 (srp $20) and rose et Or 2013 (srp $60). The wines will be available in "the finest restaurants" and "top retailers" nationwide.

FOLLOWING ITS "MAKE IT WITH A LIFEGUARD" campaign in 2013, Beam's Sauze Tequila has unveiled the latest installment of the "make it" campaign: "Make it with a Cowboy." In an attempt to capture the female demographic. the Sauza Cowboy will be a part of an integrated campaign that includes a distal and social content series with tongue-in-cheek YouTube tutorials, Instagram video, Pinterest boards and more, according to a release from the company.

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Until tomorrow, Emily

"Many hands make light work"
- John Heywood

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