Brown-Forman has moved to clarify the recent announcement that it is terminating two marketing agreements in the US.

The company confirmed yesterday (8 January) that its collaborations with Wray & Nephew and Distell Group in the country are both set to end in the first half of this year.

Speaking to just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Brown-Forman detailed what had prompted the moves.

"The decision to terminate the Distell agreement was ours," the spokesperson said. "We began distributing (Distell's liqueur brand) Amarula in the US in 2001. Since then, we have acquired two brands - Tuaca and Chambord - which compete directly with Distell in the premium liqueur category. It made sense for us to focus on these brands, allowing Distell the opportunity to find a partner that can give Amarula clearer focus."

Regarding the closure of the Wray & Nephew deal, however, the spokesperson conceded that this had not been Brown-Forman's decision. "Late last year, Angostura said that they were in talks to buy (Wray & Nephew's parent company) Lascelles deMercado and Co.," the spokesperson said. "When we heard about this, we saw the handwriting on the wall. They (Wray & Nephew) told us that they wanted to terminate our agreement, which is in keeping when a company gets bought by someone like Angostura."

Yesterday, Wray & Nephew was at pains to point out that the move away from Brown-Forman did not indicate an immediate tie-up with Angostura in the US. Brown-Forman's move "does not signal any intention to consolidate J. Wray & Nephew's arrangements in the US with those of Angostura", Lascelles said.

The marketing relationships, both of which had run for six years, will end in March for Distell, and in April for Wray & Nephew.