UK: New G&J Greenall owners plot marketing drive, eye acquisitions
The new owners of G&J Greenall are planning to launch the first television ad campaign for the distiller's namesake gin brand and are on the lookout for acquisitions.
G&J Greenall's management, led by current CEO Christian Rose, has agreed to buy the company from its current owner, UK-based hotel group De Vere, in a deal worth GBP7.5m (US$12.25m). The new company will be named G&J Greenall Group Ltd.
Speaking to just-drinks today (9 August), Rose outlined some of the group's plans and emphasised the turnaround that has taken place at the Warrington-based distiller in the past couple of years.
Greenall's most immediate plan is to increase marketing on its branded portfolio, which also includes premium Berkeley Square and Bloom as well as Greenalls gin. In the final quarter of 2011, and for the first time, the Greenalls brand will be the subject of a television advertising push in the UK.
At the same time, the group is on the lookout for potential acquisitions. "We're looking to acquire brands and not necessarily in white spirits," said Rose. "We're proud of our heritage, but we don't want to be just a gin company." He said that Greenall would seek out brands "with a high potential that are great quality and that haven't had the focus that they should have".
Rose is credited with reforming Greenall after joining the business in 2008, a year in which the group reported losses of GBP2m (US$3.3m). He said that the firm has since returned to profit. Sales, meanwhile, rose by 22% in 2010, to GBP50m.
"This year, we expect to exceed that level of growth," said Rose. Export sales are up by 30% in value year-on-year and the company expects a boost from the recent launch of Greenalls gin in five states in the US. Next week, the group plans to launch gin cocktails in cans in the UK, including a gin fizz, gin & bitter lemon and straight gin & tonic.
Rose said that the company will benefit from its standalone status. Although he praised De Vere's management, he added: "We were never strategically important to them."
Despite the fresh emphasis on branded gin, Rose said that third party bottling will remain a key component of the business. Greenall currently produces and bottles Bombay Sapphire for Bacardi, as well as many private label gins for UK retailers.
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