Imperial Brands, the U.S. subsidiary of Groupe Belvédère (Euronext Paris: BVD), has unveiled a U.S. strategy to improve operational efficiency and regain momentum for Sobieski Vodka and the other brands in its portfolio.
The strategy is an extension of the global plan designed to help Groupe Belvédère increase agility and establish itself as a multi-regional challenger at the heart of the wines and spirits market.
“The United States poses a tremendous opportunity, and our new strategic plan – while aggressive – will help us achieve a profitable and sustainable turnaround,” said Nicolas Guillant, President of Imperial Brands. “Having once broken the million-case threshold, we plan to regain momentum and double our revenue and case sales by 2018.”
Guillant feels this goal is within reach. While most global brands are facing aggressive competition in the super- and ultra-premium segments, the heart of the Vodka category is the value and standard segments – where Sobieski competes.
“In recent years, the standard segment accounted for 40 percent of market growth by value,” said Guillant. “Fueled by our strategic plan, we believe that Sobieski can become one of the top imported Vodkas in this segment.”
According to Guillant, Imperial Brands will drive focused activation in key states where distributor relations are already strong.  Sobieski plans an acceleration in advertising and promotional investments and the implementation of a more efficient route to market.  Moreover, Guillant plans to expand Imperial Brand’s footprint in the U.S. through the introduction of brands from the Groupe Belvédère portfolio that are in line with U.S. consumer tastes, such as the MonCigale Rosé, while strengthening its relationships with agency brands, such as Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur.
“2015 is the start of a new chapter for Imperial Brands and Groupe Belvédère in the United States,” said Guillant. “We have renewed global leadership, a sound strategic plan and the strong brands to deliver on that plan.”