Suntory Holdings global RTD development department that was under the spirits company of Suntory Spirits has been eliminated as the group opens a new Suntory RTD Company.

The move was designed to “accelerate business growth in the growing global RTD market”, the group said in a statement.

It told Just Drinks the new unit aims to combine the “know-how and assets” of the Suntory group, which comprises Japan-based Suntory, US spirits company Beam Suntory, and Suntory Beverage & Food.

The unit will replace the former spirits-focused RTD development department, which the company said will be “eliminated”. It insisted the changes were “not for the purpose of personnel reduction or cost saving”.

Suntory Holdings managing executive officer Sho Semba will become CEO of Suntory RTD Company from tomorrow (1 April). He will be focusing on his new role, accelerating RTD business in the global market.

Tatsushi Yoshida, executive officer of the dissolved spirits development arm, will become senior general manager at the new group RTD company, as well as continuing to be the senior executive of the production department under the Spirits Company of Suntory sprits.

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By GlobalData

No new role was listed for “former” Spirits Company executive officer Etsuro Murakami, but Suntory said he will continue to support Suntory’s globalisation.

The group also announced a new supply chain ‘strategy planning department’ to tackle “geopolitical risks and fluctuating product markets”, closing its ‘supply-chain excellence department’.

It is also forming a ‘global supply solutions department’ to “reinforce collaboration with overseas organisations for the increasingly globalised procurement function”.

In its full-year 2022 results, announced last month, Beam Suntory said RTD brand sales grew by 16%, “driven by performance in Japan, Australia and the US”.

Speaking to Just Drinks at the start of the year about what lay ahead for the company, Beam Suntory CEO Albert Baladi said RTDs were a “huge driver of our innovation and new product pipeline”.

He added: “Interestingly, while RTD is a global growth engine, the product offerings are not. Consumers are not only looking for a wide array of surprising and exciting expressions but tastes are highly local.

“Our brand, market and innovation teams are working to develop the right products tied to the right brands, in the right formats, with the right array of flavors for each market.”

In 2021 Beam entered a long-term partnership with The Boston Beer Co. to release RTD spirit drink Truly and a number of brands. Beam said at the time that it was looking to increase its presence in the alcoholic RTD segment. Baladi said Sauza Tequila would expand into additional RTD formats using Boston Beer’s production capabilities and distribution footprint.

In February, Suntory Holdings invested $76m in two Japanese distilleries as it marked its 100th year of distilling. It also announced an expansion of its range in India, targeting the country’s middle classes with four product launches within the House of Suntory portfolio.