SPI Group mulls gin purchase, unveils new high-end Tequila brand - TFWA 2017

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The head of SPI Group's global spirits business, Stoli Group, has hinted at adding a gin to the company's portfolio.

Cenote is being at SPIs Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery in Mexicos Jalisco region

Cenote is being at SPI's Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery in Mexico's Jalisco region

Hugues Pietrini, who yesterday unveiled a new Tequila brand for Stoli, said the unit is still looking to plug gaps in its portfolio, with gin as one example. Speaking to just-drinks at the Tax Free World Association in Cannes yesterday, Pietrini said the gin category is "very hot but, at the same time, super fragmented".

"It would be great to have one in the portfolio," he added.

Stoli has widened its spirits range over the past two years, bringing in Bayou Rum two years ago, Kah Tequila in 2016 and Kentucky Owl Bourbon in January. The group also expanded its wine range in 2015 by taking over the Arinzano winery in Spain.

Yesterday, Stoli launched Cenote, a new Tequila brand produced at Kah Tequila's Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery in Mexico's Jalisco region. The super-premium Tequila comprises three iterations and is priced at a 10% premium to Patron Tequila, Stoli said.

Pietrini said last year's purchase of Kah's parent, Fabrica de Tequilas Finos, has provided Stoli with the opportunity to build its own Tequila from scratch as opposed to having to buy a brand. He said owning the distillery where Cenote is made allows Stoli to control the quality of the liquid.

"The reality is that the big players have their Tequila distilleries, but most of the high-end Tequilas in the US market don't care about the production," he said.

Cenote will be introduced in the first quarter of 2018 in the US and Mexico, as well as in the on-premise channel in markets including the UK and Canada. Initially, the line will comprise Blanco, Reposado and Añejo expressions. It takes its name from the limestone cenotes, or underground water reservoirs, that are scattered throughout Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

Pietrini is a new face at Stoli, having joined the company in April, moving from Moët Hennessy.

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