Distell owns the Amarula brand

Distell owns the Amarula brand

Amarula owner Distell Group is to launch a spirits joint-venture in the US with Terlato Wine Group.

The companies said today they will merge Terlato's artisan spirits division with Distell's US spirits unit. The JV will be 50/50 and led by Bill Terlato as CEO. 

A COO will be named at a later date to run operations, sales and marketing, with the unit expected to be fully operational within the first quarter of next year.

Terlato said the move "marks a transformation of our spirits business". It also said the unit will target "strategic acquisitions".

Steven Nathan, managing director of Distell International, said the partnership was a "great match". "They [Terlato] have a successful track record with luxury brands and are known for their impeccable portfolio of wines and spirits from outstanding producers and regions in the world. Their strong relationship with distributors and trade and their successful marketing and route-to-market strategies offer a solid foundation for our business."

Terlato launched its spirits unit in 2013 and key brands include Langley's No. 8 Gin, Don Pancho Origenes Rum and Riazul Tequila. In the same year, Distell, which is South Africa's biggest wine producer, upped its spirits focus with the acquisition of Scotch whisky maker Burn Stewart Distillers.