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Beam Suntory begins French operation

Spirits giant Beam Suntory has officially launched Beam Suntory France, a subsidiary that it claims is “an indication of our long-term confidence in the French market”.

Beam Suntory announced in September 2023 that it would be launching a French-focused business, with a new Paris office and leadership team. Beam Suntory France officially began operating on 1 January.

Beam Suntory France is under general manager Anne Miller, who said: “We want to be the leader in premium whisky in France, and we are proud to be able to bring legendary brands like Yamazaki, Hibiki, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Maker’s Mark directly to our customers. We have built a strong, experienced team in Paris, and we are looking forward to building a successful premium business together.”

“Paris is a global luxury capital and France is the leading whisky market in Europe,” she explained. “With direct control over our brands in our market, we’ll be able to bring even more value to our customers, operate with greater agility and direct market insights, and ultimately accelerate growth and build brand power in this important market.”

Miller previously worked for the likes of Danone, Orangina Schweppes and Mars, and in 2016 she joined luxury goods company Hermès, where she managed domestic and travel retail markets.

Other appointments in the 30-strong Beam Suntory France team include Elodie Pomykala as head of marketing, Henri Charpentier as head of sales, Benoit Vaguer as head of supply chain, and Svetlana Makarova in the role of head of finance.

Beam Suntory president international Yuri Grebenkin said of Beam Suntory France: “The launch of Beam Suntory France represents a significant expansion of Beam Suntory’s footprint in Europe, and is an indication of our long-term confidence in the French market and the potential for our portfolio of premium brands. As Beam Suntory’s global footprint continues to mature and expand, we are excited about the future as we aim to become the world’s most admired premium spirits company.”

France is a major market for spirits, and especially Scotch whisky. According to H1 2023 export data from the Scotch Whisky Association, France is the second biggest international market by value (£235 million, 4% above the H1 2022 figure, but just behind the US figure) and the biggest by volume (88 million bottles, a 12.6% drop on the H1 2022 level) for the category. Beam Suntory’s portfolio contains a number of Scotch whiskies, including Laphroaig, Teacher’s, Auchentoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch, and Ardmore.

Beam Suntory recently sold premium Cognac brand Courvoisier to Campari, a deal which involved the latter offloading shares and debt.

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