The Edrington Group has clarified its changing position in India.

Speaking to just-drinks today (12 June), Geoff Kirk, Edrington's area director for South-East Asia and the Indian sub-continent, confirmed that the company terminated its distribution deal with local spirits group Radico Khaitan at the turn of the year.

"We had a three-year contract with Radico Khaitan which came to its natural conclusion at the end of 2006," Kirk said. "It was a mutual parting of the ways for the most part. Radico are no longer responsible for the domestic distribution of our core brand portfolio."

In conjunction with the decision not to renew the agreement, Kirk said, the company changed the status of its India office at the end of April last year, from a liason office to a full brand office to handle Edrington's brands.

"It's not new news," Kirk noted. "For us it was a natural progression of our strategy in the market rather than a radical change in direction. We didn't feel the need to announce this at the time - it was a mutual parting of the ways for core brand representation."

When asked whether Radico's agreement with Diageo last year - forming a venture to develop Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) brands - affected the decision, Kirk said: "It was contemporaneous. Diageo's relationship with Radico does not involve Diageo's core bottled-in-Scotland brands, and focussed primarily on IMFL. What they're doing with Radico is quite different from what Radico would have represented on Edrington's behalf."

Among Edrington's brands are The Famous Grouse, The Macallan Single Highland Malt and Highland Park