Bacardi has announced the appointment of Simon Owen as its new Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, effective April 1.
Owen has two decades of FMCG experience, including 13 years in the beverage industry. He is relocating to Sydney from the United Kingdom where he has been Bacardi’s Director of Grocery for the UK since 2016. His responsibilities in this role included the sales of key brands – Bacardi, Bombay Sapphire, Jack Daniels and Grey Goose – to the grocery, online and prestige retail sector.
Owen replaces Mauricio Vergara (above) at Bacardi-Martini. Vergara was appointed PATRÓN President and Chief Operating Officer in October 2020. Sarah Nichols, Marketing Director at Bacardi-Martini Australia, has been acting MD since Vergara’s departure.
Owen said: “Thanks to the amazing work of Mauricio and the team, despite the challenges and setbacks of the pandemic, our core brands are flying in Australia and New Zealand – especially Patrón, which is going from strength to strength. We’re not stopping there though and from day one, my priority is continuing that momentum and growing share even further.
“I can’t wait to get started. While there are huge differences between the Australia and New Zealand markets and the UK, there are also lots of synergies. I plan to use my experience to build on the fantastic work of the team and grow our partnerships in both the retail and bar industry.”
Bacardi said Owen and his team have big plans for the year ahead in ANZ. It outlined opportunities for growth including smaller cult brands such as St-Germain elderflower liqueur and Aberfeldy single malt Scotch whisky, as well as a pipeline of innovation, particularly in the ready-to-drink category, where “exciting new launches will tap into the convenience trend”.
Owen also noted on Linked In that he was “looking forward to visiting a bar again and ordering a drink” after his quarantine period ends.
The hot cocktail trends shaping 2021
The Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report recently revealed how recent cultural shifts have re-shaped the beverage industry, why we’re craving spice and bitters, which cocktails recipes are on the rise, and how we’re imbibing more mindfully.
“The global pandemic has expedited the at-home and e-commerce convenience culture we had already begun to enjoy,
bringing more experiences straight into our homes than we could ever have imagined,” the report notes.
“The pandemic has made home the focal point of our social lives and changed the eating and drinking landscape forever.
Initiatives such as virtual happy hours and live-streamed gigs have allowed people to recreate their favourite elements of bars and restaurants.”
Bacardi said a desire for extremes will dictate our drink choices in 2021, with sensorial experiences that range
from the striking heat of chilli through to super-sweet, sour, bitter and smoked flavour profiles.