Tourists are unsung hero for liquor industry

  • 2010-12-23
  • By Ella Karapetyan

ROLLING STOCK: Liviko Group continues to build market presence through acquiring rights to global brands.

TALLINN - According to the Estonian Alcohol Producers Association, nine million liters of strong alcohol was sold in the first ten months in 2010, which was a million liters less than in the same period last year. Strong alcohol producers exported 3.7 million liters of strong alcohol in ten months, which formed 29 percent of their total production.
Estonian Alcohol Producers Association chairman Janek Kalvi says, though, that illegal alcohol forms 19 percent of the Estonian vodka market. “The decline in the consumption of legal alcohol by a million liters… is a telling example of how the critical price limit has been exceeded for many people,” says Kalvi.

He added that in the context of economic decline, people unfortunately do not react to an increase in the excise tax rate on alcohol by ceasing drinking alcoholic beverages, but are instead making the dangerous decision to opt for illegal alcohol because of the problematic alcohol policy exercised in Estonia.
Liviko Group, already a strong player in the alcohol distribution market, became a strategic business partner and sole importer and representative in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from 2010 for the five main wine brands of the world’s leading wine company Constellation Brands.

“Strong presence on the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian markets and good results with an import portfolio of 400 quality wine brands give Liviko experience-based assurance for representing the distinguished range of Constellation Brands,” said Kalvi, who is also the CEO of Liviko Group.

As a contractual partner of Constellation Brands, Liviko Group has exclusive rights to import and sell in all three Baltic countries the five main wine brands of the world’s largest wine company. According to Kalvi, Constellation Brands is a leading alcoholic beverages company whose more than 250 alcohol brands are represented in nearly 150 countries and its main markets are North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. They are benefiting from their already strong market presence.

This year Vana Tallinn Liqueur, produced by Liviko, won the highest award at the prestigious international alcohol competition “International Wine and Spirit Competition” (IWSC) in London in the category of “Best in Class” and took a gold medal in the category of “Outstanding standard creator.” Viru Valge won the silver medal at the same competition in the category of vodkas with up to 40 percent strength produced in Europe.

“The victory of Liviko’s two representative products, Vana Tallinn Liqueur and the silver medal of the new Viru Valge in the category of vodkas is a great acknowledgment for the whole personnel of Liviko who have developed, manufactured and marketed these products for 50 years. The success of our representative products is an excellent sample of how long traditions and innovative ideas together succeed in the world. Vana Tallinn is worthy of its title as it has set a very high standard among the drinks of its class,” says Kalvi.

“This is proven by the fact that thousands of Estonians and tourists take Vana Tallinn along as a gift from Estonia. The acknowledgment of Viru Valge, having passed the thorough quality innovation regarding both content and form last year, by the alcohol experts all over the world is especially important for us, as our Viru Valge outpaced several world famous competitors. This is really nice and deserved acknowledgment for the 112th anniversary,” Kalvi added.

According to the rules of IWSC, the drinks which achieve at least 90 points on a 100-point scale should pass the new tasting cycle and a number of microbiological analyses before the final announcement of the winner. IWSC is the internationally acknowledged competition of alcoholic drinks held once a year in London, in the course of which the judges from about 20 different countries all over the world give their expert opinion for the drinks in blind tasting.

“Liviko is coming along nicely in the Baltic States, so we’re really happy that the Bacardi-Martini Group have entrusted the representation and sales of their products in Estonia and Latvia to us. Winning those rights would be a feather in the cap of any alcohol company, so we’re proud to be adding Bacardi-Martini to our import portfolio, which already boasts 600 brands - they’re famous and popular all over the world. It’s fantastic that in the space of just six months we’ve won the sales and representative rights to a partner like the Bacardi-Martini Group on two markets,” Kalvi explains.

According to the manager, the contracts granting Liviko the exclusive right to represent and sell Bacardi-Martini Group products in Estonia and Latvia will see the addition of 29 alcoholic beverages to the group’s portfolio. “Along with the representation rights for world-renowned Bacardi rums, Martini vermouths and sparkling wines, Bombay Sapphire gin and Grey Goose vodka, the contracts will also provide the rights to Dewar’s whiskeys, William Lawson’s whiskey, Camino Real tequilas and Benedictine liqueur,” he says.

“Our company is a producer of high-quality alcohol with more than 100 years’ experience. It has a well-developed distribution and wholesale network in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, through which it markets not only its own products but also imported international brands. Liviko is one of the three biggest alcohol companies in the Baltic States, placing as much emphasis on imports as it does on production. Our company employs 201 people in Estonia, 97 in Latvia and 76 in Lithuania,” adds Kalvi.