Olly Wehring

William Grant & Sons - Is 'quirky' a dirty word?

By: Olly Wehring - 30 January 2012 19:03

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How would you feel if someone described your portfolio as being 'quirky'?

William Grant & Sons has more than its fair share of quirky: Hendrick's, Monkey Shoulder, Sailor Jerry and The Balvenie could all be justifiably described as being quirky (but don't, whatever you do, call any of them 'niche'). And I mean that as a compliment.

CEDC's Zubrowka vodka is certainly quirky. With a blade of bison-grass from Bialowieza Forest - one of the last primeval forests in Europe - in each bottle, the product will sit comfortably alongside William Grant's portfolio when the company's UK distribution unit, First Drinks, goes to market.

Would William Grant like to take things further, and maybe take ownership of the brand? With CEDC currently looking at ways to deal with its debt, don't be surprised if Grant's CEO, Stella David, asks CEDC's Bill Carey if he fancies a drink some time soon.

As things stand, I've been led to believe that William Grant doesn't have such an option on Zubrowka. Nevertheless, with Russian Standard's owner, Roustam Tariko, looking to up his stake in CEDC to around 30%, could we have a bison race on our hands before 2012 is out?

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