Halewood Wines & Spirits has pledged to build Costa Rica’s Centenario Internacional Rum after taking on distribution in the UK and Ireland.
Halewood will import Centenario’s 7-, 9- and 12-year-old expressions as well its solera 25- and 30-year-old variants.
It joins the company’s portfolio of premium artisanal rums which already includes Rum Sixty Six, Peaky Blinder Black Spiced Rum and Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum.
Stewart Hainsworth, group CEO at Halewood, said: “Our vision is to be the UK’s number-one specialist in innovative and artisanal rums, just as we are beginning to showcase in the gin category, in order to focus on our strategy of building a premium artisanal portfolio that delivers true heritage, provenance and authenticity.”
Halewood plans to use its extensive national footprint to build the Costa Rican rum brand, with the view of delivering success similar to that of its premium gin brand Whitley Neill.
It was also announced today that Halewood would relinquish distribution of Tsingtao beer after 10 years developing the brand. Under a new deal with Tsingtao Brewery Company covering the UK and Ireland, the beer will be taken over on July 1 by C&C Group whose brands include Tennent’s beer and Magners cider.
Stewart said: “Halewood Wines & Spirits has a renewed vision to become an international specialist in artisanal spirits and craft beers. To that effect, it will focus its UK agency business on premium artisanal spirits, and for this reason Tsingtao will no longer be distributed by Halewood.
“We have enjoyed a special relationship with Tsingtao for a decade and ensured the brand has become a trailblazer in Asian imports in the category.”
Ning Ma, Tsingtao’s general manager, international, said: “This was a mutual decision made in the best interests of both Tsingtao and Halewood given our respective business strategies and focus going forward.
“We would like to applaud Stewart personally and his team for their constant support to consolidate Tsingtao’s positioning of number-one beer brand from China for past years, on which we are committed to build further success along with our new partners.
“We are thrilled to leverage C&C’s distribution strength, innovative marketing, and strong ties with millennial consumers, to usher in a new era of growth for Tsingtao in the UK and Ireland.”
Stephen Glancey, group CEO at C&C, added: “This distribution agreement is consistent with our strategy to build an international premium brand portfolio that complements our national and local heritage brands.
“Tsingtao is a brand with a rich history and has become the UK’s number-one Chinese beer. We are excited about this partnership, the opportunity to broaden Tsingtao’s presence and to introduce this quality beer to discerning consumers across the UK and Ireland.”