Rüdiger Behn: “We want to have a unique assortment for our Family Brands Alliance. So it’s more about quality and distinction than about collecting a product from every category.”

German spirits company Waldemar Behn has created the Family Brands Alliance, an informal grouping to help fellow family-owned, independent drinks firms enter the travel retail channel.

Waldemar Behn, which already enjoys a strong travel retail presence, owns a diverse portfolio of brands, including Danzka vodka, Dooley’s, Andalö, Blavod, Kleiner Feigling, Heering, Radeberger and many more.

The family business is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. It was founded in 1892 by Waldemar Behn. Today it is run by fourth-generation brothers Rüdiger and Waldemar Behn.

Italian Limoncello specialist Pallini has become the first company to join the Alliance. President Micaela Pallini told The Moodie Davitt Report: “The Alliance is a perfect fit for a brand such as Pallini in terms of ownership, a long-term view of brand development and a dedication to deliver the best possible service to our trade partners.

Micaela Pallini: “The Alliance is a perfect fit for a brand such as Pallini in terms of ownership, a long-term view of brand development and a dedication to deliver the best possible service to our trade partners”

“On top of this, the relationship with the Behn family is very important to us as we share the same values and vision.” She described Pallini Limoncello as number one in the category in duty free and travel retail, and added: “Our ambition is to continue to develop and secure this position globally.

“We are a family-owned company that has been in business for over 140 years,” she said. “Quality and service are the two pillars that have always supported our business model; honesty and tradition are the two values that inspire our actions.

“Our philosophy is to produce typical Italian liqueurs and Amari [herbal liqueurs] and to be able to present them in a more modern fashion without losing the ties with the Pallini history and traditions.”

Unveiling the concept to The Moodie Davitt Report, Rüdiger Behn said that the Family Brands Alliance will operate on a worldwide basis, reflecting the increasingly globalisation of the travel retail sector.

Here he tells Martin Moodie about the concept.

The Moodie Davitt Report: Rüdiger, I suppose a key part of the allure for brands that join the Family Brands Alliance is that they might lack resources or expertise in this channel. You bring that and you also bring a kind of locomotive to the alliance, specifically in the form of Danzka’s popularity in travel retail.

Rüdiger Behn: Yes, that’s right. Certainly it’s Danzka in many cases. In Nordic duty free, it’s more Dooley’s than Danzka.

We do have a lot of relationships and we know a huge number of people in the travel retail business. So that means we can deliver good distribution for Alliance members.

Underlining its commitment to travel retail, Waldemar Behn unveiled premium line extension Danzka the Spirit, exclusive to the channel, in late 2016

So it’s a global approach?

Yes, as long as the brand fits to the market, of course. We can’t promise global distribution for every brand. It needs to be a brand which fits into multiple markets. There may be products which are good just for one region. Then, it’s fine with us as long as the brand owner doesn’t expect that we can create miracles. But if we do it, then we want to have wide rights for distribution.


Behn and Danzka vodka were profiled in The Moodie Report Digital Print Edition of October 2013. Click on image to download.

Given that the name is Family Brands Alliance, I take it that your criteria for inclusion is that anyone joining must be a family-owned company. But I also understand that you are seeking brands that carry a particular distinction within a category?

Exactly. They need to be different from other brands of that category.

You’re up and running already via your own family of brands and Pallini. Are there any categories in particular that you’re looking to fill?

It could be Irish whisky. It could be Scotch whisky. Could be a rum. And we’re talking to Cognac houses, of course. And perhaps some liqueurs.  But we don’t want to have too many.

At the end of the day, we want to have a unique assortment for our Family Brands Alliance. So it’s more about quality and distinction than about collecting a product from every category. That’s unnecessary. If there is not the right choice in that category available, then we take this as a fact.

Note: To contact Rüdiger Behn about the Family Brands Alliance please e-mail r.behn@behn.de


Waldemar Behn recently released a video to celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary. It shows viewers inside Behn’s operations and highlights the company’s roots. Click on the icon to view.