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Newly created Allied Domecq Spirits USA plans to focus its marketing efforts behind 10 core brands and back its remaining labels only with tactical support.

The distiller has decided to throw the bulk of its ad support behind Beefeater gin, Canadian Club whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Cutty Sark Scotch whisky, Drambuie liqueur, Kahlua liqueur, Maker's Mark bourbon whiskey, Midori liqueur, Sauza tequila and assorted specialty whiskeys

The second-tier, or "alliance," brands, which will receive mainly regional and promotional support under the new plan, include Don Pedro and Presidente brandies, Fris vodka, Hiram Walker liqueurs and Tia Maria liqueurs.


"The core brands are brands that represent very strong value and profit numbers or have tremendous potential for growth," a spokesman for the distiller said. "The alliance brands are mature brands where the growth opportunities are limited."

Allied was created last month when parent Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine merged liquor units Hiram Walker Inc. and Domecq Importers.

The division of brands into two tiers formalizes the varying support already given the products; the core brands already had received the lion's share of ad support. The difference is that while every brand once had a dedicated brand manager, only the more important ones will in the new organization.

The distiller also may tap third parties to handle some or all of the marketing and distribution responsibilities for still-to-be-determined alliance brands in all or regional markets, the spokesman said.

It's possible Allied may not renew importing contracts for some brands.

The action fits with other marketing and organizational changes by the distiller, which in the past three months has conducted agency reviews for four of its major brands. Last week, the company consolidated media buying at Zenith Media Services, New York. Zenith previously had shared the business with New York-based Hudson Media Group.

Allied ranks seventh among spirits marketers with a 6% U.S. share, according to industry newsletter Impact.

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