By Anne Brockhoff

Brown-Forman and Bacardi USA, a unit of Bacardi Ltd, have forged a new partnership called the Gemini Alliance to boost their distribution power in the US, the companies said Wednesday.

While the partnership will help the both parties jointly manage relationships with brokers and beverage alcohol boards, building greater distribution muscle in a rapidly consolidating market will be the key to its success, Brown-Forman spokesman Phil Lynch said.

"We want greater strength, greater presence in marketplace, particularly at the distributor level," Lynch said. "We'll be working together to ensure a greater distributor focus" on products including Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's whiskey and Bacardi rum.

The companies are now conducting a state-by-state review of delivery, marketing and distribution systems to determine where the partnership will first be implemented. Brown-Forman and Bacardi already share distributors in 26 states, Lynch said.

The Gemini Alliance adds to the companies' long-standing relationship, which includes Bacardi's distribution of Brown-Forman products in much of continental Europe.