Comment - Wehring's Way - Beam Inc, CEDC and Stock Spirits - Reading Between the Lines
Stock Spirits is set to replace CEDC as Beam Inc's Polish distributor
The news that Beam Inc has switched distributors in Poland doesn't really sound like one for the conspiracy theorists, does it?
But, hang on just a moment: Beam has pulled out of its tie-up with Central European Distribution Corp in favour of Stock Spirits – less than 20 months into a five-year deal.
There it is!
In January last year, when Beam and CEDC renewed their Polish distribution deal for a further five years, each side clearly seemed very happy with the other. “We are pleased to continue our successful cooperation with Beam Inc in Poland, which recognises the value of CEDC’s strong sales platform in the overall brown and white spirits market," said CEDC's CEO at the time, William Carey.
Fast forward to today, and we have this from Beam: “We would like to thank CEDC management and their brand team for a long-lasting partnership and professional stewardship of its brands.”
When pressed, a spokesperson for Beam expanded, thus: “CEDC has been our route-to-market (in Poland) for more than ten years. We’re making the change now because we believe that Stock Spirits is the right strategic fit to drive growth for our brands in this attractive emerging market.”
This still doesn't shed much light on why this decision was taken. So, we went back for a bit more.
“With Stock,” the spokesperson said, “we are their first and only global brands in that market, which is why we are confident they will give our brands the focused attention they deserve.”
So, what has changed since Beam fluffed its (Polish) pillows with CEDC?
Well, for a start, CEDC CEO Carey isn't there any more. And, the company, whose financial travails of late have been well-documented, is now under the control of Russian Standard, whose namesake vodka brand might just be the bedbug that has kept Beam awake at night.
Could it be that Beam's brands were no longer getting the level of attention that the US company felt they deserved, now that CEDC was dealing with another big brand, in the form of Russian Standard? As you can see, no-one would actually say anything along those lines.
I just thought I'd say it for them!
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Russian investor Roustam Tariko, the owner of Russian Standard, gained full control of CEDC in April 2013. The new owner is expected to focus more on the Russian market. This, in turn, could mean less...
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