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Exclusive: Stoli Shakes Up U.S. Distribution, Moves To Young’s In The West

March 26, 2019

Stoli Group is undertaking a major realignment of its distributor profile in the U.S., Shanken News Daily has learned, including a switch from Southern Glazer’s to Young’s Market Co. in a number of western states. Overall, Stoli’s distributor changes will cover about 25% of its U.S. business.

Effective April 1, Young’s will take on the Stoli Group portfolio across Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Stoli is also parting with Southern in Illinois, where the portfolio is transitioning to Breakthru, which already distributes Stoli’s range in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Stoli is not severing its relationship with Southern entirely. The two will continue to be linked in Nevada and Arkansas.

Meanwhile, Johnson Brothers, which already handles Stoli in Minnesota, has been named as Stoli’s new distributor in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, replacing Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC). RNDC continues to distribute Stoli Group’s brands in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia. Elsewhere, Stoli continues to be handled by Empire Merchants in New York, by Horizon Beverage in New England, and by Great Lakes Wine & Spirits in Michigan.

“The marketplace is evolving, and we’re aggressively expanding and reshaping our portfolio while looking to continue to grow share in the largest spirits category with our flagship Stoli vodka brand,” said Stoli Group USA president and CEO Rudy Costello. “This distributor alignment best positions us to achieve our ambitious long-term growth objectives.”

Stoli’s namesake vodka label rose 3% to 1.8 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank. It was one of only a handful of brands among the top 15 vodkas by volume to show positive growth in 2018.

The company is also going on offense in other categories, including Tequila, rum, and whiskey. It’s moving forward with a 1.5-million-proof gallon distillery for its Kentucky Owl whiskey label, and recently introduced a new liqueur line, Gator Bite, produced by the makers of Bayou rum. Earlier this month Stoli also extended its Cenote Tequila brand with a Cristalino expression, retailing at $80 a 750-ml. Stoli Group’s portfolio also includes Loch Lomond Scotch whiskies, Se Busca Mezcal, and Achaval-Ferrer and Arinzano wines.—Daniel Marsteller

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