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Vestal Vodka partnership to drive growth in the UK and abroad

Published:  06 May, 2016

Drinks industry guru, Dave Steward, has partnered with Vestal Vodka to drive growth in the UK's most competitive spirits category.

Steward has joined the team as brand development director as the company seeks to consolidate its early success in the UK and become it a leading player in Polish artisan vodka.

Steward said the brand's strategy is to focus on the liquid.

He said: "It appears that most brands are still concentrating on how many times the vodka has been filtered and talking about various celebrity endorsements instead of the actual liquid, which has always been the most important thing for us."

The vodka was launched in 2009 by William Borrell and exports have been growing steadily in the USA, France, Singapore, Australia.

It produces a range of artisan vodkas at a small, family-owned distillery in Poland. Borrell's connection to the country dates from when his father, a former TIME Magazine war correspondent, settled just outside Gdansk.

Vestal was launched in London because, Steward says, it is still the toughest place for a vodka brand to take its first steps.

"We launched in London as we believed that it's the toughest market to launch a spirit brand, let alone a vodka, which is surely the most competitive of all categories," he said.

"During our first year, we enjoyed a tough but steady growth in the city's bars, members clubs and hotels - all powered by William wearing out serious amounts of shoe leather. From this humble launch, Vestal is now sold in ten countries."

He added: "William's goal was to launch what essentially was a family passion, driven by the belief that vodka really didn't have to be the bland offering that was currently on the market."

Steward has launched and managed various premium drinks brands, including Wyborowa, Maker's Mark, Zubrowka & Sapporo.

Since 2010, Vestal has made gains in premium on-trade listings in London and is now rolling out its portfolio of vintage and blended vodkas across the UK by setting up a stand-alone sales, marketing and distribution company.