The CEO of Stock Spirits has attributed the group’s ability to grow sales during the pandemic to its focus on local brands, which he believes will also be key to future success.
For the 12 months to 30 September 2020, Stock Spirits posted growth of 9.1% to reach €341 million (US$411m). Sales through the year were boosted by a 15.1% revenue growth in Poland and increased sales of €87.3m (US$105m) in the Czech Republic.
The company’s portfolio of more than 40 brands includes Prestige vodka and vodka-based liqueur Lubelska.
Mirek Stachowicz, Stock Spirits CEO, said: “What helped us with Covid was our model – they key message that we are trying to pass on at the end of this fiscal year to our markets is that people need to understand how different we are to companies that we tend to be compared to.
“People compare us to big multinationals like Diageo and Pernod Ricard, but we are different, we are local. We are local in various ways and it is turning out to be a huge strength.
“There is something good about managing strong local brands. When Covid came, our local approach to things and the fact that we manufacture 90% of our products in local facilities for local markets, buy local materials and form strong local relationships, it really helps us.”
Stock Spirits’ gains in the region came despite a 10% increase in spirits excise tax in Poland and a 12.3% tax increase in the Czech Republic, which came into effect on 1 January 2020.
In spite of tax hikes and the impact of Covid-19 on the global drinks industry, Stachowicz said Stock Spirits “performed well” through the year.
He said: “We came into 2020 prepared for the excise increase, but nobody was prepared for Covid.
“In our industry, excise increases are a problem, but they can also be turned into an opportunity. I think we were able to turn it into an opportunity.
“We are driving local messaging even deeper. We also believe that locality comes with responsibility, stakeholder management, ability to work with local communities. When we built a distillery in Eastern Poland we made it as environmentally sound as possible, why? Because we feel responsible to the city and we also feel that they pay us back through support in our ventures.”
According to Stachowicz, the company’s focus on regional brands will help it appeal to millennial drinkers and aid its growth in the future.
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Author: Owen Bellwood