Borco aims to surpass Beam Suntory

German-based drinks business Borco wants to leapfrog Campari and Beam-Suntory to become Germany’s third biggest spirits company, according to its new CEO.


Markus Kramer joined Borco as CEO from Diageo on January 2014

During a discussion with the drinks business at ProWein last month, Markus Kramer – who joined Borco as CEO from Diageo on January 2014 – said that he has ambitious aims for the family-owned company, which is headquartered in Hamburg and has a portfolio of brands such as Sierra Tequila, Old Pascas rum, and Finsbury Gin, and operates a distribution agreement for famous spirits such as Fernet Branca, De Kuyper and Chartreuse.

“We want to become the number three in Germany, at the moment we are number five,” he told db, before explaining that the top four biggest spirits businesses in the country are, in order: Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Campari and Beam Suntory.

Continuing he said, “I know it is ambitious, but it is also a realistic target for the next 10 years.”

Borco has an annual turnover today of €310 million but would need to reach €400-450m to surpass Germany’s third biggest spirits business, representing almost a 50% growth in value over the next decade.

One of Kramer’s proposals for increasing Borco’s share of the German drinks market is a greater focus on whiskey.

He explained, “One of our aims to be the clear whiskey expert in Germany, and within a couple of months we will represent leading whiskey brands, for example Heaven Hill Bourbon, Dalmore Single Malt, and a range of Japanese and Canadian whiskey brands.”

These will complement existing whiskies in the Borco range, which includes Dean’s and Glenkenny blended Scotches and PennyPacker Bourbon.

“Our focus is to increase the range and quality of our portfolio,” he added, noting that Borco has more than 80 brands in its portfolio, and has recently taken on the distribution of Stohl Rum, “doubling” Borco’s business in Austria, according to Kramer.

Sierra Tequila

Borco own Europe’s best-selling Tequila, Sierra

“And we also want to focus more on our brands,” he said, mentioning those labels owned by Borco, such as Sierra Tequila, which is the market-leading Tequila in continental Europe, including the travel-retail market, stated Kramer.

Furthermore, Kramer is creating a dedicated sales and marketing force for the company’s high-end brands” which he is called the “luxury players collection team”. This will comprise six employees who are focused on selling brands such as Lanson Champagne, Chartreuse, Antica Formula Vermouth and Dalmore Scotch to “premium outlets”.

Finally, Kramer told db what he believed were the five biggest trends in the German spirits market, which can be viewed on the following page.

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