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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

Sherry giant Gonzlez Byass has joined the trend of 2004 and is to set up its own UK office. The new company, Gonzlez Byass UK, will initially have 20 employees and will be led by Martin Skelton as managing director. Skelton, who was previously international sales director for the company, told Harpers: With the purchase of Croft back in 2001, we now have sufficient income in the UK to support a local sales and marketing structure. Most of the back-office will be handled in Spain to ensure maximum focus on developing commercial opportunities.' Pedro Rebuelta Gonzlez, export director at Gonzlez Byass, added: We are very grateful to First Drinks, the present distributor of our Sherry brand. Since taking on the distribution in 1998, First Drinks has helped us successfully relaunch Tio Pepe Fino and developed our Croft Sherry business in the UK since its purchase from Diageo.' Gonzlez Byass has also been diversifying into Spanish light wine and its interests in Rioja, Castilla and Peneds. These are also expected to be handled by the new office. Until the UK office opens, customers are asked to continue to do business through First Drinks. More details will follow in April.