Japan: Diageo has announced plans to form a joint venture with Kirin brewery to expand distribution in Japan.
The joint venture company, to be named Diageo Kirin Company, will be 51% owned by Diageo and 49% by Kirin, and is expected to begin operations in June 2009.
The new firm will develop business strategy for Diageo premium brands to be sold by Kirin in Japan. It will also provide nationwide brand marketing support to both companies, and on-trade sales support in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya metropolitan areas.
The Diageo premium brands to be sold by Kirin and distributed through Kirin’s nationwide distributor network will include Guinness, Kilkenny and Smirnoff Ice, plus brands already handled by Kirin, namely Captain Morgan rum, Crown Royal, Gilbey’s Gin, Gilbey’s Vodka, Godiva, Myers’s rum, Seagram's Seven Crown and Seagram VO.
Diageo noted that Kirin has a sophisticated distribution network that extends nationwide, and has a strong sales pedigree in the Japanese beer market. Kirin said it will be aiming to increase demand and gain market share in the Japanese alcohol market, addressing the diversification of personal preferences within Japan’s aging population.