A former Diageo exec is to oversee brands including Chicken Cock American Whiskey after owner Island Club Brands united its spirits portfolio to form a new company.

Kevin Testa, who was Diageo's commercial director for Southeast US, Catalyst division, will head up Grain and Barrel Spirits as managing partner, Island Club said last week. Testa joined Island Club from Diageo last year as VP of business development.

Grain and Barrel Spirits will operate Island Club's “new craft products and historically significant brands” including Chicken Cock and General Beauregard Dixie Southern Vodka, the company said, adding that many of the major global spirits brands have “peaked” and are “struggling to adjust to the needs of new, emerging consumers”.

“We are already seeing success with Chicken Cock and Dixie, where we will now be doubling down in key markets, with focused plans for increasing distribution and sales at the ground level, where our consumers are,” it said.

Last year, Island Club Brands added a fourth flavoured expression to its Chicken Cock American Whiskey range, Chicken Cock Cherry Bounce.