First Drinks adds key vodka brands to portfolio

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Green Mark: Russia’s leading vodka
Green Mark: Russia’s leading vodka

Related tags Vodka

First Drinks has snapped up distribution rights for Russia’s number one vodka Green Mark and Polish vodka Zubrówka.

In a deal with Polish vodka producer Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC), First Drinks will take on Green Mark in the first quarter of 2011 and Żubrówka, with its unique flavour derived from bison grass, in July.

It was widely believed First Drinks was on the lookout for a new vodka after having its distribution agreement with Russian Standard terminated at the end of 2011.

Green Mark is Russia’s leading vodka with annual sales of around 10 million nine-litre cases. Claimed to be CEDC’s flagship export brand, 1 million nine-litre cases of Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka were sold globally in 2010.

First Drinks is also taking on “ultra-premium” vodka Kauffman, said by CEDC to be the first vintage vodka in the world.

Chris Mason, managing director of First Drinks, said: “We are delighted to be working with CEDC, one of the world’s leading vodka producers and we look forward to a long term partnership to achieve our ambitious mutual goals."

Mason added: “The new vodkas are an excellent fit within our existing portfolio, complementing our current brands. We have a strong track record of building premium brands and have big ambitions for 2012.”

William Carey, president and CEO of CEDC, said: “We believe First Drinks Brands will contribute to further expansion of Green Mark, which, as an authentic, high quality vodka from Russia has great sales potential in the UK, where vodka is the largest spirits category.

“We also look forward to strengthening the position of Żubrówka, which is our key export brand and has already won recognition in the UK market.”

First Drinks is wholly owned by William Grant & Sons, which has already entered into an international alliance with CEDC. CEDC represent the William Grant & Sons portfolio in Poland and Hungary.

Related topics Spirits & Cocktails

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