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Exclusive: Rapidly Rising Ty Ku Forms New Company To Handle An Expanded Portfolio

July 23, 2014

Ty Ku Sake & Spirits has launched Davos Brands, a new wine and spirits importing and marketing group to handle its recently expanded portfolio. Created by Ty Ku founder and CEO Andrew Chrisomalis in partnership with spirits entrepreneur Guillaume Cuvelier, Davos Brands will handle the full Ty Ku sake portfolio in the U.S., as well as the brand’s soju and citrus liqueur entries. Davos has also added Zyr, a super-premium Russian vodka, to its roster.

“Ty Ku has built a very experienced team of spirits industry veterans, and we felt we could not only handle more than one brand, but also find synergies and build a portfolio of similarly-positioned luxury and ultra-premium brands,” says Cuvelier, who has been named Davos’ vice chairman. Cuvelier is well-known in the U.S. drinks market for creating Svedka, the Swedish vodka brand he sold to Constellation Brands in 2007 for $384 million. Svedka is now the U.S. market’s third-leading vodka brand behind Smirnoff and Absolut.

Retailing at $29.99 a 750-ml., Zyr launched in the U.S. roughly 10 years ago and has since been self-imported into a handful of U.S. markets, including New York, New Jersey and Florida. Davos plans to dramatically expand Zyr’s footprint, and is currently launching the vodka into Texas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Georgia. The company expects Zyr to reach nationwide distribution by the first quarter of 2015.

Much of Davos’ focus, however, will remain on growing Ty Ku. Currently selling more than 100,000 cases in the U.S., Ty Ku’s volume rose by 54% for the year through December 2013, according to Nielsen data. The brand’s flagship sake collection includes its Silver ($14.99), Coconut ($14.99), Black ($24.99) and White ($65-$75) labels, with Silver making up the bulk of the brand’s U.S. sales volume.

“In the last year, the premium sake wave has been accelerating,” adds Cuvelier. “People are starting to include sake in their wine repertoire, and it’s another option in the 12%- to 15%-abv segment. There is incredible opportunity for sake to become a more mainstream product as an alternative to wine.”

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