Lion Nathan has said its spirit and RTD brands, McKenna Bourbon and Inner Circle Rum, will be sold exclusively through its joint venture Bacardi-Lion in Australia.

The trans-Tasman company said today (6 June) that it will retain trademark ownership of of the two brands and maintain responsibility for brand marketing.

With the recent RTD tax changes in Australia creating "a level of uncertainty" around the category, Lion Nathan said it believes this will cause a decline in the category.

"This likely decline in the RTD category has changed the financial risk profile of the category," said LNA managing direction Andrew Reeves. "Our decision to use the Bacardi-Lion JV as the route to market McKenna and Inner Circle Rum will help mitigate these risks."

The new initiative will begin 1 October. Lion said the financial impact would be immaterial.

"Spirits and RTDs remain a very attractive growth option for Lion Nathan as we are currently a relatively small player in the spirit and RTD market and we believe that the Bacardi-Lion joint venture offers a strong platform to achieve our ongoing growth aspirations," added Reeve.

The Bacardi-Lion portfolio includes Bacardi, Dewar's, Bombay Sapphire, Grey Goose and 42 Below.