Diageo has signed a deal with Marnier-Lapostolle to distribute the French group's Grand Marnier liqueur across Europe.

Diageo will distribute the liqueur range in 61 markets across Western and Eastern Europe, including Russia, former Soviet bloc countries and duty-free, Diageo said today (9 June).

Diageo will start distribution on 1 July in 26 markets, including Germany and Spain. France, along with a further four markets, will also transfer to Diageo in 2009.

Pan-European distribution is expected upon the expiration of existing contracts over the next three years.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Gilbert Ghostine, managing director of Diageo Continental Europe, said: "The Grand Marnier range is renowned for its exceptional taste, quality and heritage.

"We are confident that through our superior route to market and premium brand marketing expertise, this can only enhance the success of Grand Marnier across Europe."

Marnier-Lapostolle reported a 1.6% fall in sales in the first quarter of 2009.

Net sales for the first three months of this year fell to EUR24.8m (US$32.6m), compared to EUR25.2m for the same period last year.