William Grant & Sons has confirmed that it plans to close its French brandy production facility in the Cognac region of the country.

Speaking to just-drinks today (13 October), a spokesperson for the Scotland-based company said that, following a review of the French brandy operation, William Grant will close the Raynal & Cie site by the beginning of next year, citing "deteriorating market conditions" for the move. The facility produces the company's Three Barrels and Raynal brands.

"The French brandy market has been tough of late," the spokesperson said. "The rising cost of eaux de vie is the type of cost that we can't pass on to the consumer, so we've had to consider other options."

Up to 44 staff at the site could lose their jobs, the spokesperson admitted, but the workers have been offered assistance by the company to help find alternative employment in the region.

Brandy blending will be farmed out locally in the area, while bottling will be transferred to William Grant's site at Strathclyde, outside Glasgow.

Earlier this month, William Grant confirmed details of a European multi-market relationship with Rémy Cointreau. The plans include a new joint venture partnership in France and third party sales, marketing and distribution deals in the UK, where William Grant's UK subsidiary, First Drinks Brands, will become the distributor of Rémy Cointreau's portfolio, and in Belgium and Luxembourg where the Rémy Cointreau companies will distribute the William Grant portfolio.

The deal will secure the future of Lixir in France - currently jointly owned by William Grant and Maxxium - which will continue as an operating company with William Grant and Rémy Cointreau as equal shareholders.

The two companies have existing relationships in other markets across Europe, including in Portugal, where the Rémy Cointreau portfolio is distributed by William Grant's joint venture company PrimeDrinks.