Maxxium, the distribution company owned by Remy Cointreau, Jim Beam Brands, Highland Distillers and Vin&Spirt, has said it is possible more drinks companies will join its global network. The company also refused to deny that the current partners might at some point form closer bonds or even merge.

In an interview with Maxxium CEO Roland Van Bommel said: "Maxxium provides shareholders with the means to remain independent but at the same time to have cost effective distribution and a clear route to market. So there is no doubt there are possibilities at some point in time to extend the shareholder base."

Van Bommel said the candidates were likely to come from mid-sized companies with international brands who were feeling the squeeze of fast industry consolidation.

He said: "I guess the problem will arise if you are a mid-sized player with, let's say, a global reach with some of your brands. It will become more and more difficult to find quality distribution at an acceptable cost."

Van Bommel also acknowledged that the increasing pressure of consolidation might at some point force the four current partners to merge themselves. "It is still early days. Basically it is difficult to predict, but we are talking about a consolidating industry so certainly it is a possibility," he said.

For the full interview see this week's Feature of the Week.