Corby assigns secondary brands

In a move designed to strengthen the management of its core brands, Montreal-based Corby Distilleries has farmed out sales and marketing responsibilities for a range of secondary brands to an independent sales and marketing firm.Effective March 1, The Mark Anthony Group...

In a move designed to strengthen the management of its core brands, Montreal-based Corby Distilleries has farmed out sales and marketing responsibilities for a range of secondary brands to an independent sales and marketing firm.

Effective March 1, The Mark Anthony Group will become Corby’s sales and marketing agent for such nationally marketed brands as Silk Tassel whisky, Red Tassel Vodka, McGuinness White Rum and McGuinness liqueurs.

Mark Anthony, which is a privately held marketer of wine, beer and spirits, will also take on a number of regionally distributed brands, including 1878 whisky, sold primarily in Alberta, and two rum products, Black Diamond and Anne Bonny, sold in Eastern Canada.

It will handle the new business at its head office in Vancouver.

About $650 million worth of spirits are shipped to government-controlled liquor stores annually in Canada.

According to Jim Keon, Corby’s senior vice-president of sales, Corby’s market share in dollar value accounts for 28% of that total.

(Taxes and sundry charges raise the spirit market’s total value in consumer dollars spent to $3.8 billion.)

Mark Anthony’s role in marketing the new portfolio will include all brand advertising, which it will handle primarily through its in-house ad agency, Grapevine Productions.

In addition, the company occasionally awards contracts for special projects to independent agencies.

Keon says the decision to shift a portion of its brand roster to an independent marketing firm grew out of a business arrangement established with parent Hiram-Walker in 1991.

At the time, Corby assumed sales and marketing responsibility for all Hiram-Walker brands, while Hiram-Walker took over responsibility for the manufacture of all Corby’s products.

Keon says that with the acquisition of the new brands, ‘our portfolio became a little too broad and deep.’

He says the relationship with Mark Anthony will ‘allow our salesforce to concentrate on our core brands such as Canadian Club and Wiser’s.’

Anthony von Mandl, president and chief executive officer of Mark Anthony, says the company, which operates in Ontario and Western Canada, will establish a presence in Quebec and the Maritimes to handle the new business.