Respected spirits executive Juan Gentile has created his own wine and spirits distribution company based in Miami with a focus on the Caribbean and duty free markets.
Gentile, who worked for Edrington for almost 20 years most recently as Senior Vice President, Managing Director Americas Travel Retail at Edrington Americas, tells TMI he will use his category and regional expertise to find the right portfolio for the right markets.
“I have been working in the region for many years and there are many brands out there with a need to grow to their full potential in the Caribbean and duty free. So I decided to create a company that specializes in sales, distribution, and marketing of premium wines and spirits. My expertise comes from Macallan and I understand the premium and super premium sector of spirits.”
The new company, called Distribution Spirits Company or DISC, opened in January.
“This is coming alive and I am very excited. I want to focus on luxury/super premium and have one or two brands maximum in each key category. I am trying to be selective and go for key brands,” he says.
“I understand strategically what the brands need. I will have a strong portfolio, bringing my marketing and commercial experience from premium and luxury spirits as well as my expertise managing distributors.”
Gentile is launching the new venture with a partnership with regional distribution company Promo International Inc.
“I needed financing and structure. Promo International, owned by Sergio Sanchez, has been in the market for more than 25 years. The company sells into the Caribbean, focusing on fast moving consumer goods such as groceries and health. They represent important brands like Kellogg’s and Unilever. The idea with this partnership is to create the spirits side of Promo.”
Distribution Spirits Company has already added some wines and spirits to its portfolio with more announcements expected in May.
“I have formalized a few brands (Moskovskaya vodka, Tequila Kah, Cosmopolitan Diva) from the Amber Beverage Group, Rutini wines, Aguardiente Antioquenio.
“I have just agreed with Piper-Heidsieck to represent the champagne for some markets in the Caribbean.
“I will also represent Four Loko throughout much of the Caribbean (except for a couple of islands). This is the perfect channel for Four Loko,” he says.
“While the idea is to have a few high end brands, we will also have standard brands, because my dual strategy is to also supply retail through Promo’s strong distribution arm. I see an opportunity for niche and premium brands.”
Gentile says he is excited to travel to the markets and believes his long experience in the industry will make Distribution Spirits Company the right company to build brands in the region.
“I want to be a brand builder. I know how to build premium brands, how to get to the consumer, how to train the people. I understand strategically what the brands need,” he says.
“I want to work with people and brands with which we have a cultural fit and can have fun working together. When you have your own company you want to work with people that you enjoy working with. This industry is about the relationships and about being present in the market.”
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