Whyte & Mackay has taken the UK distribution of two key brands in-house after agreeing to end its contract with Maxxium.

The UK distiller said today (1 September) that it would take over the UK distribution of Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky and Vladivar vodka on 1 March next year.

Stewart Lawrie, managing director of Whyte & Mackay UK, told just-drinks that it had been the company's "long-term desire" to manage the brands.

He said: "The best people to manage the brands is the people most passionate about them - and that's ourselves."

Lawrie said that Whyte & Mackay would focus on building the on-trade presence of the two brands in England and Wales. "We've got great distribution in the on-trade in Scotland but in England and Wales, our business in the on-trade has been pretty poor and it's now time to remedy that," he said.

Whyte & Mackay would announce its new UK distribution arrangements in "the next two weeks", Lawrie added.

Maxxium distributes the two brands in selected European markets but Lawrie insisted the change in the UK would not affect that partnership. "We are parting ways with Maxxium in the UK because we did not think that they were necessarily the best distribution solution for us in the UK but we will continue to work together in other countries."

A Maxxium UK spokesperson said the loss of the two Whyte & Mackay brands would not hinder the "best premium spirits portfolio in the industry".

Next month will also see the end of the partnership between the two companies in duty free. Whyte & Mackay will take charge of handling the brands in global travel retail markets, with the exception of UK duty free, where it will assume control next March.