Maritime & Mercantile International makes move into South Africa through joint venture with local beverage distribution start-up Brand 2 Consumer Premium Drinks Company

Partnership hits the ground running with Brand 2 Consumer securing the distribution rights for premium Italian beer brand Peroni

  •  Dubai-headquartered Maritime & Mercantile International (MMI) has acquired a majority shareholding in Brand 2 Consumer Premium Drinks Company (B2C) continuing their goal to become the leading independent beverage distributor in emerging markets
  •  Agreement secures distribution rights to the Asahi portfolio of beverages which includes leading global beer brands Peroni and Grolsch

9th October 2017: Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI) and South African-based alcohol distribution start-up B2C have announced an investment deal and in a significant coup to kick-start the joint venture, B2C has secured the distribution rights of the Asahi portfolio in South Africa including premium beer brands Peroni, and Grolsch.

The investment gives B2C access to Japanese beverage giant Asahi’s collection of international premium beer brands. Excitingly for South African consumers, they will now be able to enjoy premium imported quality Peroni direct from Italy.

Ed McKenna, Asahi Premium Brands, Development Director – EMEA added: “Following the acquisition of Peroni and Grolsch by Asahi from AB InBev we are excited to be bringing consumers, amongst other world-class brands, premium imported Peroni from Italy. We look forward to working with B2C and MMI, and utilising their expertise and combined local and international experience to help Asahi deliver on the increasing demand for premium beverage brands in South Africa.”

B2C is uniquely placed to deliver in the South African market as an independent sales, marketing and distribution company, with a focus on premium international liquor brands. Founded in 2015, B2C works across all international liquor categories including Premium Beer, Cider, Spirits and Wine and offers increased choice to the South African trade and consumers in the growing emerging middle class market, offering scale in both the on-trade Main and Formal markets and excellent retail distribution.

B2C CEO and Founder, Peter Hart commented on the deal:” B2C is delighted to now be partnering with MMI on the next stage of our exciting journey. This announcement alongside the fantastic news that we have secured the Asahi portfolio distribution rights will see us bring some of the world’s best liquor brands to the South African market including premium imported Italian beer brand Peroni. B2C offers increased choice to South Africa with a portfolio which features internationally leading brands in multiple categories and we are uniquely placed to bring these international premium brands to the emerging Main market.”

Iain Delaney, Chief Operating Officer, MMI, added: “MMI’s expansion into South Africa via the acquisition of a majority shareholding of B2C is an extremely significant and exciting step towards our goal of becoming the leading premium independent beverage distributor in emerging markets.

“We are proud to be playing alongside leading global distributors of premium beverages, and are thrilled to be bringing some of the world’s best-loved premium beverage brands to consumers and businesses across South Africa via both the Asahi portfolio and other world-class brands.”

Alongside the Asahi portfolio, B2C will continue exclusive distribution for the C&C Group including their premium cider brands and international beer brand Tennent’s, and also exclusive distribution for Stellenbosch Vineyards local South African portfolio.

Other exciting new additions to the B2C portfolio following the formation of the joint venture includes lead spirits agencies such as Roust Brands whose flagship brand Russian Standard is the number one premium Russian vodka in the world; Quintessential Brands Gin portfolio featuring an unrivalled heritage and provenance dating back to 1761 with Greenalls Gin and prestigious Opihr, Bloom and Berkley Square brands; and finally the renowned Scottish distillery Whyte & Mackay whose international portfolio also includes the prestigious Jura & Dalmore.

MMI’s significant investment into this partnership is a remarkable milestone for B2C, which launched just 18 months ago.  A Dubai-headquartered subsidiary of the Emirates Group, MMI is one of Africa and the Middle East’s largest and fastest growing independent liquor distributors and brings decades of expertise in beverage distribution.

Its subsidiaries and joint ventures have operations in more than 40 countries across four key regions; the Gulf & Middle East, East Africa, Indian Ocean and South East Asia.

This latest partnership was created to meet the growing demand from the South African middle classes for a more premium international beverage offering across all major liquor categories and is a further step in the company’s continuing growth in Africa.

The size and opportunity in the South African market makes the agreement a major milestone in MMI’s vision to become the leading beverage supplier in emerging markets, and follows the success of their existing African operations in Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Ethiopia, and most recently has expended its operations into the Seychelles, building on its success in the Indian Ocean

In 2016, MMI celebrated a remarkable 100 years of trading – an extraordinary milestone which set a suitable tone for the stream of significant expansion deals which have followed in 2017.