On the Street -- Stirrings at Diageo

June 16/Norwalk, Conn./PRNewswire-FirstCall -- Diageo will increase its investment of Stirrings LLC, makers of a premium cocktail mixer portfolio, to 100%. In 2007, Diageo made a 20% minority investment in Stirrings.

"This is a great opportunity to further grow the Stirrings brand and create more synergies with Diageo's array of leading spirits brands," said Larry Schwartz, president of Diageo USA. "As people entertain more at home, they are looking for an easy way to serve bar-quality cocktails, and Stirrings fits squarely within our at-home strategy."

As a result of the acquisition, the marketing of the Stirrings brands will be integrated into Diageo, and the Stirrings brands will join all Diageo brands in its distributor houses across the country. Steve Rust, senior vice president of Reserve Brands, will oversee sales for all Stirrings products for Diageo. Bob Swartz will stay on as CEO of Stirrings, overseeing the commercial business and liquid development, which will remain in Fall River, MA. He will be joined by Larry Freedman, who will continue to be responsible for innovation, operations and quality for the Stirrings line.

Stirrings was established in 1997 by entrepreneurs Gil Maclean and Bill Creelman, both of whom will remain as consultants to the Stirrings business.

"When we started Stirrings 12 years ago, our focus was on giving people a great cocktail experience. That's why we always use the freshest, highest quality ingredients," said Maclean.

Creelman added, "We are extremely pleased that our relationship with Diageo has gone to the next level. Diageo shares our vision around quality and will be able to bring the Stirrings line to more people around the world."

The Stirrings portfolio consists of over 50 products such as premium mixers (Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Pomegranate Martini), Rimmer brand cocktail garnishes (Margarita Salt, Pomegranate, Cosmopolitan), and classic bar ingredients (Dirty Martini, Grenadine, Blood Orange, Bitters).

From the June 22, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition