Illva Saronno is taking US distribution of its Disaronno brand in-house

Illva Saronno is taking US distribution of its Disaronno brand in-house

Italian drinks group Illva Saronno is severing its 14-year-old relationship with Bacardi in the US to set up its own distribution unit.

The new subsidiary, Illva Saronno USA, will handle the sales and marketing of the group's Disaronno spirits brand from January, the company said today (17 October). The current contract with Bacardi, which has been in place since 1999, expires at the end of December.

Illva's new unit, to be headquartered in New Jersey, will retain the existing regional distributors for the brand. The division will be headed up by Brett Dunne, who joins from Southern Wine & Spirits.

Augusto Reina, Illva Saronno's CEO said: “The founding of Illva Saronno USA testifies to the fact that we have done a great job in the USA in recent years, allowing Disaronno to grow and stand on its own two legs.”

The change does not affect the Italian firm's Tia Maria brand, which will continue to be handled by Kobrand in the US, the company said. Illva acquired Tia Maria from Pernod Ricard in 2009.

Illva already has a number of other global offshoots, including a subsidiary in Holland, Switzlerand, a JV in India, and a recently-opened China unit, based in Shanghai. 

Yesterday, just-drinks reported that Illva is investing in Irish whiskey, having taken a 50% stake as part of a EUR25m (US$33.8m) investment in the Walsh Whiskey Distillery group, producer of The Irishman brand.