Hi-Spirits takes on SoCo and Tuaca, amid rumours of sale to Sazerac

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

04 March 2016

Hi-Spirits has announced it is to distribute Southern Comfort and Tuaca in the UK from 1 April. The UK spirits distribution and marketing company has remained tight lipped on its rumoured sale to New Orleans-based Sazerac, owner of the two brands.

However, notices filed in December and January with Companies House reveal the termination of the old Hi-Spirits board, including founders Jeremy and Sue Hill, and the appointment of a number of Sazerac's key management team as directors. These include Sazerac's international sales director Guy May, chief commercial officer Steve Wyant, chief financial officer Paul Pape, and president & CEO Mark Brown.

Of the new distribution deal Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: 'Southern Comfort and Tuaca are both iconic brands, and a great fit with our expanding portfolio. With strong consumer followings we are looking forward to building further distribution across the UK on-trade, off-trade and travel retail channels.'

Both Southern Comfort and Tuaca were sold to Sazerac by previous owner Brown-Forman earlier this year, in a deal worth USD $543.5 million (£382 million). Brown-Forman chief executive Paul Varga said the sale was due to the company’s evolving portfolio strategy.

Sazerac said it plans to reinstate Southern Comfort's New Orleans connection in its branding and on its packaging, worldwide.

Originating in Italy, Tuaca is a brandy based spirit that is traditionally served as an ice cold shot, but can also be mixed in cocktails. Sazerac says it will develop its global strategy for the drink in the coming months.

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