Dutch spirits companies Lucas Bols and De Kuyper are selling manufacturer Avandis to Refresco in a deal worth EUR25m (US$24.2m).

Lucas Bols and De Kuyper, which have joint ownership of Avandis, signed a long-term manufacturing contract with Refresco, saying they would “benefit from Refresco’s, size, scale, and expertise in manufacturing beverages”.

Lucas Bols, which owns liqueur brands Passoa and Galliano, said it wanted to focus on its “core activity” of “creating great cocktail experiences around the globe”.

Mandarine Napoléon brand owner De Kuyper said it wanted to “focus on building and marketing our premium cocktail liqueur brands”.

It marks a deeper move into alcoholic beverages for Refresco, which said the category has “significant growth potential”. The Calypso manufacturer has the bulk of its business in soft drinks but it also makes RTDs, beers and non-alcoholic beers.

Refresco told Just Drinks: “Acquiring Avandis expands Refresco’s existing alcohol beverage manufacturing capabilities. We currently have a number of capabilities in hard liquor, specifically in Europe, and produce a wide range of RTD alcoholic beverages (such as hard seltzers, mixed drinks, etc) across our footprint.

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“While the category is currently relatively small in Refresco’s portfolio, the alcohol category is an area that offers much growth potential for the company. Avandis becoming part of Refresco is an important step in that.”

Refresco has agreed to take on Avantis’ debt of US$14.5m as part of the deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Refresco CEO Hans Roelofs said: “This acquisition is a step change in expanding our offering to customers in the alcohol category and complements our existing hard liquor capabilities in Europe.

“We aim to expand in beverage categories that offer significant growth potential. As alcohol is one of those categories, this acquisition will make for a great fit and perfectly suits our company vision.”

Refresco, headquartered in Rotterdam, has more than 13,000 employees and has completed more than 20 acquisitions over the past two decades, including German packaged water and soft drinks firm Hansa-Heeman earlier this year. In February, private-equity powerhouse KKR acquired majority control of the contract manufacturer.

Lucas Bols CEO Huub van Doorne said: “We are confident that Refresco offers the best environment for Avandis to thrive.

“At the same time, the transaction allows us to fully focus on our core activity: creating great cocktail experiences around the globe.

“We will benefit from Refresco’s, size, scale, and expertise in manufacturing beverages as our brands will continue to be manufactured by Avandis under the new ownership. We look forward to a close collaboration with them for many years to come.”

Mark de Witte, the CEO of De Kuyper, added: “In Refresco, we have found an excellent partner to continue the manufacturing of our products with the highest quality. This transaction is a strategic step forward for us, as we will be able to focus on building and marketing our premium cocktail liqueur brands.”