Global change for Viru

Tiger Beer takes on UK sales and marketing for the Estonian beer

The owner of the Viru Estonian beer brand has awarded the UK sales and marketing

for the brand to Tiger Beer UK and has insisted it ditched previous distributor Global Brands - not the other way round.

Global had previously claimed it had ended the deal to handle Viru in June as it sought to "shake out poor-performing brands".

But Brand Independence, the London-based company that owns the Viru brand and manages it in several international markets, said it had ended the agreement with Global.

Director Paul Baxendale said: "We

just felt they weren't giving it enough focus."

He added: "It was felt that Viru required a different approach to achieve the levels of success it was enjoying in other European markets such as Italy, Switzerland and Sweden.

"The UK is a critical market and it is important that we have confidence in our distribution partners."

In a statement issued this week, Global said: "The termination came as a result of the brand underperforming in the marketplace and was considered the right decision by both Global Brands and Brand Independence." It added that "a review of its beer brands" had led to the "removal" of Viru, Tsingtao and Carib.

Brand Independence's Baxendale said Tiger had been chosen because it was "looking to expand its portfolio and our brand was a good fit".

He added: "It's taking a very professional and focused approach. We're continuing our strategy which is to target premium on-trade and off-trade accounts.

"We're in Tesco, though we've not been chasing the multiples, but it is getting noticed and making a good deal of progress."

Tiger Beer UK has already added French brand Desperados to its range in recent months as it looks to expand a portfolio that also includes Singapore's Tiger and Monteith's of New Zealand.

It's not the first time Global has had a run-in with one of its beer principals.

In 2006, it was embroiled in a row over the exclusivity of its rights to Tsingtao from China, after Westmill Foods began selling it in parallel.

Tsingtao has since moved to Halewood International on an exclusive basis.

Movers and shakers

Global Brands boss Steve Perez has relinquished his position as managing director to become chairman. Perez will focus on the long-term development of Global and building its product portfolio

Sales director Mark James has been promoted to

managing director, overseeing the day-to-day running of the company

Derek Mackey takes over as sales director, joining the company from Heineken UK where he was sales controller for on-premise.