The SPI Group has secured distribution of its Stolichnaya vodka brand in the UK and Greece.

The Russian company, for whom Pernod Ricard had previously been handling the sales, marketing and distribution of Stolichnaya outside of Russia, said today (27 November) that The Edrington Group will handle the distribution of the brand in the UK - through the Maxxium joint venture - from the beginning of next year.

In Greece, meanwhile, WS Karoulis, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berry Bros & Rudd, will market and distribute the Stolichnaya portfolio with immediate effect.

Pernod has been in the process of pulling out of its alliance with SPI around the world, having acquired the owner of Absolut vodka, Vin & Sprit, earlier this year.

In the UK, Stolichnaya will join the portfolio of premium spirits brands distributed by Maxxium. The arrangement covers Stolichnaya 'red', the flavours range and all other brand variations including the ultra-premium Stolichnaya Elit.

"This is a complete win-win agreement that provides significant benefits to Maxxium, Edrington and SPI Group," said Huw Pennell, managing director of Maxxium UK. "The addition of a premium international vodka was a key strategic priority for the business and Stoli is precisely the sort of iconic brand that complements our existing portfolio."

Andrey Skurikhin, minority shareholder of the SPI Group, added: "This is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to working with Edrington and Maxxium to continue Stoli's development in the UK. Their distribution expertise across the on-trade and off-trade is first class, and their wealth of marketing experience in the vodka sector speaks volumes."

Earlier this year, Edrington lined up the formation of a new sales and distribution alliance with Beam Global Spirits & Wine. From 1 April, Edrington and Beam will begin their new partnership, taking joint ownership of the Maxxium businesses in ten markets, including UK, Russia, China and Spain.

Beam will then handle distribution for both firms in eight markets, including Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Canada, while Edrington will be responsible for Scandinavian markets, as well as Taiwan and Korea.