Anheuser-Busch has added to its spirits portfolio in the US, with a vodka distribution deal in the north-east of the country.

The brewer, which last week said it would distribute Margaritaville Tequila in the state of Massachusetts, confirmed yesterday (11 June) that it will become the master distributor in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and other select markets for three vodka brands owned by Vermont Spirits.

The deal, covering Vermont Gold, Vermont Gold Vintage and Vermont White, begins this month with select A-B wholesalers in New England handling the brands, initially focusing on licensed states. While Vermont Spirits will continue to oversee marketing for the vodkas, the deal allows for potential limited equity holding in the future, A-B said.

The company also said that it is looking to test a limited portfolio of premium spirits in targeted markets in the north-east, highlighting the Margaritaville agreement made earlier this month.

"Vermont Spirits is a great-tasting, high-end vodka distilled from pure, natural resources," said Dave Peacock, vice president of business operations for A-B. "Products like these ... vodkas allow us to compete in this growing category in a limited way, while gaining a deeper understanding of distributing a liquor-based product through our wholesaler system."