Suntory Australia, a subsidiary of Suntory Liquors Japan, has decided to shift its focus from cider to premium spirits and liqueur brands.

Under the plan, the company will end its successful partnership with C&C International to distribute Magners, a cider brand, in Australia from 1 January 2014.

The cider brand distribution will be taken over by Bacardi Lion Australia from next year.

With plans to bring the Magners brand to Australia in 2004, Suntory worked with C&C International to build the brand and developed popular ‘ice over’ serving, and launched Magners Pear Cider and Magners Apple & Pear Draught at over 150 stores nationally.

Suntory Australia managing director Ian Atherton said their business focus will be on maintaining and growing their portfolio of premium spirits and liqueur brands.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed working with C&C International to launch and maintain brand presence for Magners over the past nine years," Atherton added.

"Suntory will remain committed to achieving Magners’ objectives for the remainder of the year. It will be business as usual over the next six months. Suntory wish C&C International the best of luck for their future plans for Magners in Australia."

Magners brand principal Anthony Brady said Suntory has done a fantastic job successfully launching and building Magners in Australia.

"We now have a renewed focus for Magners and believe Bacardi Lion is the perfect partner to help drive our expansion. We are excited by the opportunities for the brand ahead," Brady added.

Suntory Australia has a portfolio of premium spirit and liqueur brands in the Australian market including Midori, Cointreau, Russian Standard, Tia Maria, Disaronno, Mount Gay Rum, Licor 43, and Suntory-owned Whisky’s, Yamazaki, Auchentoshan and Bowmore.