Stolichnaya vodka's owner, SPI Group, has signed a distribution deal in the US with William Grant & Sons.

The news, announced by SPI last night (12 November), ends months of speculation on who would seal the Stolichnaya contract for the US.

SPI minority shareholder Andrey Skurikhin told just-drinks in August that the group was searching for individual distributors in key markets around the globe. Pernod Ricard terminated its global distribution licence for Stolichnaya following its takeover of Absolut vodka owner Vin & Sprit earlier this year.

UK Scotch whisky group William Grant & Sons "has one of the fastest-growing spirits portfolios in the US," said Skurikhin in a statement last night.

"We are excited to work with their executive team, many of whom have past experience working with our brand."

Stolichnaya is a perfect fit for William Grant, said Simon Hunt, the UK group's president in the US and managing director in North America.

Skurikhin told just-drinks in August that Stolichnaya had around a 5% share of the US vodka market, its most important market, and was recording high single-digit growth rates in the country.

In an added twist to the distribution deal, William Grant & Sons distributes one of Stolichnaya's Russian rivals, Russian Standard vodka, in the UK.