Beam Suntory to own route-to-market in South Africa

Beam Suntory has completed the acquisition of ABV Brands after securing a 50% equity stake in 2015

Corporate and Financial News

Beam Suntory to own route-to-market in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa, 23rd April 2018 - Beam Suntory, the world’s third largest premium spirits company, is pleased to announce that it has acquired the remaining 50% shareholding of its South African distributor, ABV Brands, from the company founders, Ross Calow, Daniel Hawkins and Igor Boyadjian. This follows Beam Suntory’s acquisition of a 50% stake in ABV Brands in 2015. The acquisition was completed on 18th April and is effective immediately.

As a result of this acquisition, Beam Suntory assumes full ownership of its route-to-market in South Africa, and the existing ABV Brands team will be integrated into Beam Suntory. Mark Pockele, formerly Beam Suntory’s Commercial Director for MEA, will assume the role of MD following the departure of ABV Brands’ co-founder and current MD, Ross Calow. Dan Hawkins will remain as ABV Brands’ Commercial Director along with the existing management team. There are currently no planned changes to ABV Brands’ portfolio of products.

ABV Brands was founded in 2010 and has been Beam Suntory’s distribution partner in South Africa from the beginning. Since becoming a Beam Suntory joint venture in 2015, ABV Brands has grown the Beam Suntory portfolio by more than 50%, driven largely by Courvoisier Cognac, which has seen triple-digit growth and is now the #2 Cognac brand in South Africa, as well as Jim Beam Bourbon, which has outperformed the whisky category in South Africa with consistent double-digit growth.

Yuri Grebenkin, Beam Suntory’s MD for Alliance & Emerging Markets, commented: “Throughout our eight-year partnership, ABV Brands has demonstrated that it has the market knowledge, the commercial drive, and the passion for our brands to deliver consistent, aggressive growth in South Africa. South Africa is a high-potential emerging market for Beam Suntory, and brands like Jim Beam and Courvoisier are already establishing category-leading positions. We are delighted to welcome the ABV Brands team to Beam Suntory, and we are looking forward to building on their already impressive achievements as one team.

“I’d like to offer our sincere thanks to Ross and Dan for their partnership throughout the years. They built an outstanding business and we are delighted that Dan will continue to drive our commercial strategy in South Africa.”

Dan Hawkins, ABV Brands Commercial Director, added, “ABV Brands is extremely proud of the leadership position we have built in this dynamic market over the past eight years, and we are thrilled to be taking this next step with Beam Suntory and its world-class portfolio of premium brands. We are confident that combining our local expertise with Beam Suntory’s global scale and capabilities will be a winning combination, empowering us to take the business to the next level in South Africa.”



Nell Murphy

International Communications Director, Beam Suntory

+44 (0) 7471148209



About Beam Suntory

As the world’s third largest premium spirits company, Beam Suntory is Crafting the Spirits Brands that Stir the World. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands and Suntory whisky Kakubin, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek bourbon, Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki Japanese whiskies, Teacher’s, Laphroaig, and Bowmore Scotch whiskies, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Hornitos and Sauza tequila, EFFEN and Pinnacle vodka, Sipsmith gin, and Midori liqueur.

Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and commitment to Growing for Good. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit and


About ABV Brands

Established in 2010 by entrepreneurs, Ross Calow and Daniel Hawkins, along with Cyprus-based FIX Wines and Spirits, ABV Brands quickly carved a space as a serious player in the very competitive South African spirit market. Specializing in the marketing and distribution of imported spirits, they have brought sound marketing principles and a clear route to market capability that has very quickly seen rapid growth for their Principles in the region. Their current Principles include Beam Suntory, Edrington and Bols, with their product portfolio boasting some of the most prominent brands in the world including Jim Beam, Courvoisier, The Macallan, Maker’s Mark, Famous Grouse and Bols Liqueurs. For more information on ABV Brands please visit