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UK: Bibendum and Lion Nathan team up again in Europe

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Three wine producers, including Australia's Lion Nathan, have teamed up with UK agent Bibendum to form a European distribution business.

Lion - alongside Chile's Via Wine Group and The Argento Wine Company from Argentina - has set up Bibendum Wine International to manage the distribution of a number of fine wine brands in Europe.

The unit, to be headed by Lars Venborg, the ex-commercial director of Michel Laroche, will handle brands including Lion's Petaluma and Knappstein wines, as well as the Via and Argento brands.

In 2004, Lion joined forces with Bibendum to distribute its wines in the UK. Lion Nathan Wine Group managing director Peter Cowan said the success of the two companies' UK venture would stand the European business in good stead.

"Our objective over the past 12 months has been to establish the best possible fine wine route-to-market system in our priority markets around the world. We believe this new business will create a very efficient and effective export management structure, focusing on the needs of the individual national distributors."

Bibendum managing director Dan Jago told just-drinks today (4 January) that the venture would look to improve the relationship between producers and distributors on the continent.

"Our role is to introduce distributors in other countries to producers to manage best practice, it's not to get in the way, we're not after a margin. In a sense, we will be a best practice export driving business, based in the local market."

Jago said there were plans for other producers, notably from South Africa, to join the venture, adding that the partners had not ruled out Old World producers joining in the future.

"There are other areas like South Africa that we need to look at but I think last to the game will be the traditional European producers. But I would be lying to you if I said there would never be a traditional European producer involved."

He added that the business would first target markets in Scandinavia and Western Europe, before "battling into" Old World markets like Portugal, Italy and Spain.


Sectors: Wine

Companies: Lion Nathan

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