The genesis of the SPI Group was the acquisition, in 1997, of a formerly-privatised intellectual property business that owned the brands of a number of historic Russian spirits.
SPI Group had a vision of building an integrated spirits business – controlling everything from production to distribution and sales. Through a series of successful investments, SPI Group added distilleries, a retail network in the Baltic states and significantly developed an international distribution arm. The plan was straightforward: to pull together the tremendous expertise in the production of spirits that was available in these Russian companies and then grow the brands in the rapidly expanding western market.
There was a lot of work to do. Under the previous owners, quality had suffered and little thought had been given to a coherent marketing approach with serious investment behind it. As a result, market share was under attack from other international vodka producers and export volumes had begun to fall. Through the investment of tens of millions of dollars, the company re-built the expertise needed to improve quality, acquired modern production lines and the highest quality equipment for its laboratories. With those improvements the negative trends of export volumes were reversed.
The company reorganised the disparate parts of the business to ensure quality management discipline and the enforcement of the best business practices, taking a fresh look at business partnerships and marketing to ensure that all the brands were positioned for growth. Simultaneously great steps were taken to stop counterfeit and illegal production under the brand names.
Through the transactions and the work carried out since, SPI Group has become a dynamic wines and spirits company throughout the world.