In August 2023, Beam Suntory and Frucor Suntory announced an exciting new partnership, Suntory Oceania, as the region’s new A$3B multi-beverage powerhouse.
Underpinned by quality craftsmanship and a strong sense of purpose, Suntory Oceania will deliver a combined portfolio of over 40 market-leading brands, powered by two local manufacturing sites, five distribution centres and more than 1,500 employees, to create the fourth-largest ANZ beverage group.
Preparation has already started to ensure the partnership is ready to go to market from mid-2025 in Australia and 2026 in New Zealand, with over 400 roles to hire for in the coming two years.
We spoke recently with the two leaders driving the creation of this transformative partnership – Darren Fullerton, CEO of Frucor Suntory Oceania, and Mark Hill, Managing Director of Beam Suntory Oceania – about the ambitions of their global parent company, Suntory Group, and how the new business model has the potential to ignite the local beverage market across Australia and New Zealand.
As a global leader in the beverage industry, Suntory Group offers a diverse portfolio of products, from premium spirits, beer, wine, Ready‐to‐Drink (RTD) alcohol beverages, to brewed teas, bottled water, still and carbonated soft drinks, and energy and coffee drinks, along with health and wellness products.
By bringing the best of Suntory together, the sister companies, Beam Suntory and Frucor Suntory plan to create something totally unique for its global business and the local marketplace. Hill and Fullerton ascribe this to their commitment to the ‘Yatte Minahare’ spirit – a Japanese term that means to dream big, take on challenges and never give up. This uncompromising spirit has driven the passion for the project, a massive undertaking which will allow Suntory to manage its complete multi-beverage portfolio and ANZ supply chain.
This confidence from Suntory is understandable, with both businesses outperforming the market across key segments and the partnership unlocking greater agility and more opportunities for future portfolio innovation.
“For Suntory, Australia and New Zealand is historically [Beam Suntory’s] third largest global market in alcohol, beyond their home markets of the US and also Japan,” Hill says. “It’s a very important strategic market, hence the level of investment we’re seeing behind this initiative.”
“Suntory sees this as a major opportunity to significantly change its footing in Australia and New Zealand,” Fullerton adds. “Both businesses have been leading successfully in growth categories. There’s much more that we can bring together from Suntory to our partners and consumers, as well as more career opportunities for our people. We really see this as a chance to unleash our potential.”
In the summer of 2025, the Suntory Oceania partnership will go live in Australia, following suit in New Zealand at the start of 2026. Critical to the delivery of this vision is a brand new, state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution facility in Ipswich, Queensland. The $400M price tag makes it the largest FMCG investment in a single site in the last decade.
The Suntory team will be able to manufacture 20 million cases at first production with the opportunity to scale to 50 million cases. Working alongside portfolio production sites in New Zealand, North America, Europe and Japan, the new facility will significantly expand capability and capacity.
The Suntory Oceania partnership presents a change for Beam Suntory, who historically has worked with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) to locally manage the manufacture and distribution of its portfolio across ANZ.
“We’ve had a very successful long-term relationship with CCEP,” Hill continues. “To the point where last year we assumed the number one position in the RTD category in this marketplace, which is currently the strongest performing of all the alcohol categories.”
With the construction of Suntory’s new Queensland facility well underway, the timing was right to establish a new partnership within the “One Suntory” family.
“Discussions have already started with the retailers and there is a lot of excitement,” Fullerton adds. “They need agitators and disruptors, they need people to think differently, and that’s what we want to represent to them.”
There is little doubt this is a pace change for Suntory, with indications that this partnership is just the start of something even bigger for the group – a prototype for how it sees the future of its global structure.
A legacy of ‘Growing for Good’
For over 120 years, ‘Growing for Good’ has been woven into the fabric of Suntory’s identity. The corporation recognises it is sustained by the gifts of nature and water and works hard to protect the ecosystems that deliver water which is central to its operations. With a company purpose focused on ‘inspiring the brilliance of life’, Suntory has set ambitious goals, including 50 per cent Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction from its direct operations and a 35 per cent reduction of plant water intensity by 2030.
As both leaders prepare to embark on the transformative journey of creating Suntory Oceania, it is evident that sustainability occupies a central role in their future strategies.
“We’re making really good progress against our commitments around water reduction, packaging, CO2 emissions, and recyclability,” Fullerton says. “But the biggest single representation of our sustainability strategy is the greenfield plant we’re building in Queensland. We’re going to be super proud of this facility for so many reasons.”
Collaborating closely with Japanese teams for the facility’s design and construction, the new Australian venture will achieve at least net-zero status. This impressive feat will be made possible through strategic sustainable technologies, including 14 kilometres of solar panels, biomass boiler and a solar power purchase agreement.
Their sustainable ambitions go far beyond Australian borders, with many of Suntory’s global brands also pushing the envelope when it comes to ‘going green’.
“Sustainability is a significant focus on our brand agenda,” remarks Hill. “One big call out is Maker’s Mark, one of the first global brands to get a B Corporation Certification. Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword for Maker’s Mark, it’s at the very core of everything it stands for.”
Maker’s Mark has secured the prestigious B Corporation Certification, marking a historic milestone. It becomes the world’s largest distillery and the first in Kentucky’s renowned Bourbon Country to attain this esteemed recognition. This certification underscores the brand’s unwavering commitment to fostering a more inclusive and sustainable economy. It serves as a pivotal marker in the brand’s environmentally conscious mission to ‘Make Your Mark. Leave No Trace’.
Shaping the future
For Mark Hill and Darren Fullerton, work is well underway to build the foundations of a strong personal relationship as the two leaders embark on this new business venture. In clear mutual agreement, Hill comments, “The benefits of working within the Suntory family is we know immediately we’re working with partners that share our values.”
“We’re committed to building a One Suntory Oceania culture. We’ll set the ways of working, so that it absolutely feels like a close partnership,” Fullerton says. “What that does require in our early stages is for me and Mark to stay really close to each other in terms of our major decisions, and there’s a lot of governance that includes our global stakeholders as well.”
The legacy of the new Suntory Oceania partnership promises to be nothing short of remarkable, unlocking the full potential of Suntory as a global organisation here in ANZ. It’s poised to reshape the beverage landscape across multiple categories.
Fullerton concludes with ambition, “We want to see this taken around the world as the poster child of how Suntory could operate across its different businesses. Together we will help shape Suntory into the future.”
With such an impressive long-term vision for the future, the partnership between Beam Suntory and Frucor Suntory is a fascinating next chapter in the history of Suntory.
Find out more about Suntory Oceania by visiting www.suntoryoceania.com.