Jim Beam Brands (JBB) said last week it is keen to "take a look" at Sandemans Port, one of the proposed spin-off brands Pernod Ricard will sell following its Seagram acquisition.

Mike Donohoe, JBB's senior VP, sales and marketing, told just-drinks.com that he felt Sandemans could be integrated into the US company's portfolio. "We would like to take a look at the brand. We do have a wine division which we want to expand and Sandemans may fit well in this segment. It has a presence in the US."

He did admit, however, that the Port was the only brand of interest and the company had reviewed the other brands pegged for the spin-off auction, such as Passport Scotch whisky and more obviously, Four Roses Bourbon, but had rejected them. "They do not appeal to our long-term strategy which is to become a premium spirits and wine global player," he said.

JBB wine division has five brands in its portfolio: the premium Geyser Peak range, Canyon Wines, the Australian brand Barwang, and Venezia and FoxRidge. These are owned and distributed under the umbrella of Peak Wines International, as part of Jim Beam Brands Co.

As of today (Monday), Donohoe begins his new role as CEO of Future Brands LLC, the new joint venture created with Sweden's Vin & Sprit, to distribute Absolut vodka in the US.

Donohoe told just-drinks.com that the integration of the JBB's US distribution network and the European operation Maxxium with Absolut's own network had to be completed by 1 June 2001 under the agreement. "People seem to be worried by this but it is feasible," he said.