A new trade body representing spirits producers in Europe has been established following the merger of the European Spirits Organisation (CEPS) and the European Forum for Responsible Drinking (EFRD).

The new group, spiritsEUROPE, consists of 31 industry groups from across Europe, including eight multi-national drinks firms. Paul Skehan, spiritsEUROPE's new director general said the merger was to “consolidate” and “focus” the resources of the two groups. 

“We are trying to make sure the two groups are more obviously intergrated and working together,” he told just-drinks. 

Gavin Hewitt, who was CEPS' president, will take the same role for spiritsEUROPE. Hewitt is also chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

The new group's objectives include to “defend the freedom to produce and market spirits in a responsible way by securing appropriate legislative conditions for production, marketing, distribution and sale of spirits in Europe”, and to “secure no discriminatory treatment of spirits in comparison to other alcoholic beverages”. 

The corporate members of the group are Bacardi-Martini, Beam, Brown-Forman, Gruppo Campari, Diageo, Moet Hennessy, Pernod Ricard and Remy Cointreau.