Burn Stewart Distillers and Distell Group have created a joint venture in Africa.

The new venture, announced yesterday (16 April), will own and market Burn Stewart's Bunnahabhain Islay Single Malt and Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky brands in Sub-Saharan Africa. The two whiskies will join Scottish Leader, which Distell has been representing in South Africa since 1999, under the unit's control in the region.

Financial details about the joint venture were not disclosed.

"The basis of our alliance with Burn Stewart, widely acknowledged for the quality of its whiskies and its success in building new markets, represents a very important development for us," said Distell's managing director, Jan Scannell. "We believe their trademarks will significantly enhance our portfolio."

"We have created a sound infrastructure from which to profitably market and distribute our brands in these countries, strengthened by a growing conversancy with local trading environments, each with their own specific set of demands. Our continued investment in these markets is a mark of confidence in their enormous potential."

Fraser Thornton, managing director of Burn Stewart added: "The opportunity to extend our working relationship with Distell to jointly develop our key brands in the region is extremely significant for Burn Stewart. The combination of Distell's distribution capability and regional marketing knowledge combined with Burn Stewart's brand and category experience will allow both organisations to enjoy a successful future in an important and growing region for Scotch Whisky.

"This agreement further highlights our long-term commitment to brand building," Thornton concluded.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Burn Stewart said the joint venture will begin shipping the two additional brands in the area in June and July.

"The 50-50 partnership gives Distell some ownership of the brands in the area," the spokesperson said. When asked about plans for the Scottish Leader whisky, the spokesperson added: "We're hoping to significantly grow the brand in the region over the next 12-18 months."

Distell is South Africa's leading producer and marketer of wines, spirits and ciders.