By James Atkinson

With the addition of new bourbon and rum trademarks to its portfolio, and its wine and cider brands making strides, Vok Beverages is now in a position of unprecedented strength, according to marketing manager Chris Illman.

Ending a nine-year partnership between the companies, Vok handed back distribution of brands including Bulliet bourbon, Pimm's No. 1 Cup and Captain Morgan rum to Diageo on February 1.

But any perception that Vok has been weakened by the transition could not be further from the truth, Illman told TheShout.

He said the deal was always going to end at some point, and Vok had ample time to prepare itself and focus on strengthening its own portfolio of brands.

As well as Vok's new trademarks revealed this week, Bearded Lady bourbon and Rebellion Bay Spiced Rum, Illman said Vok acquired the Real McCoy bourbon brand from Diageo as part of the severance deal.

With Bearded Lady occupying a premium space in the bourbon category, Illman said Real McCoy will continue as Vok's "value play", and the company will look to refresh the brand's packaging and liquid composition soon.

Illman added that sales of Vok's Three Oaks Cider have been very strong and the company is "kicking goals" with its wine portfolio.

Its wine brands include Minchinbury, Great Western and Queen Adelaide, as well as Andrew Garrett's Sparkling Shiraz, which Illman said is the market leader in its category.

He said the company will shortly reveal the refreshed branding of El Toro tequila, with some extensions to the Vok trademark set to follow later this year.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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