French spirits and Champagne group Rémy Cointreau is quitting the Maxxium distribution network.

Rémy, which owns brands including Mount Gay rum, Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and its namesake Cognac range, confirmed today (23 November) that it will leave Maxxium in March 2009. The decision will enable Rémy to consider alternative distribution options in its priority markets such as Asia.

The remaining members of Maxxium - The Edrington Group, Beam Global Spirits & Wine and V&S Group - have subsequently emphasised their commitment to the organisation.

"These partners remain fully committed to Maxxium and its long-term success and will be working together to ensure a smooth transition of the business," the compaies said. "Maxxium will remain a strong and highly effective business moving forward."

Ben van Doesburgh, Maxxium's CEO, said: "With the benefit of two years' notice and the related financial compensation, we feel we can manage the exit of the Rémy Cointreau brands without adverse effects for our other shareholders and third party brands." Although financial details were not disclosed, these will be announced together with Rémy Cointreau's half-year financial results on 12 December.

Bengt Baron, CEO at V&S, argued that Rémy was not one of the largest members in Maxxium. It is important to recognise that Rémy Cointreau's  brands only account for 15% of the case volume of Maxxium," he said.

"Maxxium will still be significantly larger than it was when the alliance was created in 1999 even after the exit of Rémy Cointreau."

Maxxium was established in 1999 as a reaction to the creation of Diageo, and expanded to include V&S in 2001. The organisation operates in most major spirits markets outside the US, South America, Africa and India.

No-one was immediately available at Rémy Cointreau when contacted by just-drinks today.