In the latest change to its marketing structure, Allied Domecq has appointed The Licensing Company (TLC) to increase retail opportunities for its portfolio of brands, through brand extensions and licensing initiatives.

The move is being heralded by Allied as a "new phase in drinks marketing" and will see TLC develop licensed, branded, stand-alone products from Allied's existing portfolio of spirits.

Allied Domecq already has a presence in the ingredient supply marketplace, such as the use of Tia Maria in confectionery, cakes and dairy products, with a turnover of more than £40 million being generated annually at retail. 

However the company said: "The appointment of TLC to develop licensed branded stand-alone products marks a first for the drinks industry."

Allied said that the early stages of the brand extension programmes would focus on the brands with existing territory profile, such as Sauza and Beefeater in the US, Kahlua in the UK and Ballantine's in Southern Europe.

Once the initial brand extension programmes for these properties are established, TLC's international team will focus its attentions on developing the wider portfolio of the Allied Domecq brands.

An Allied statement said: "With the obvious 'added value' benefits, the licensing of significant drinks brands is a key growth sector, and one of TLC's initial goals will be to expand the profile and profitability of Allied Domecq by harnessing the core values of the individual drinks."

David Hayes VP of new business innovation at Allied Domecq said: "Our global brands have enormous equity. The licensing programme will release the untapped potential of this equity by developing new, branded opportunities outside of drink."