William Grant & Sons has distributed Stolichnaya in the US since 2009

William Grant & Sons has distributed Stolichnaya in the US since 2009

SPI Group is to drop William Grant & Sons as its US distributor for Stolichnaya and set up its own import company.

The US marketing, distribution and importation deal for the vodka brand will not be renewed when it expires on 31 December next year, the two companies said yesterday (15 November). SPI said the decision is a result of its desire to directly manage its own brands.

“With our own importing company we are in charge of our own future and will be able to exploit all opportunities of growth in the US,” SPI CEO Val Mendeleev told just-drinks. “We are an entrepreneurial company and this was a natural move, part of a long-term strategy of growth.”

SPI said it will set up the new unit throughout next year and start operations on 1 January 2014.

William Grant's US unit has handled Stolichnaya in the country since January 2009. Previous distributor and marketer Pernod Ricard ended its arrangement with SPI after it failed to acquire Stolichnaya outright and bought Absolut vodka owner Vin & Sprit instead, in 2008.

SPI signed the distribution deal with William Grant after months of speculation over who would seal the Stolichnaya contract for the US.

In yesterday's statement, William Grant said it is "proud of the many accomplishments" it has achieved with Stolichnaya.