Express & Star

Drinks group Virtus Brands set to grow with Parfetts distribution deal

Independent drinks start-up Virtus Brands has taken a major step in expanding its UK sales after signing a deal with leading wholesalers Parfetts.

Baz Kooner

The Dudley-based firm, which manufactures and distributes 15 drinks brands including its high-selling Jatt Life ultra-premium vodka, has joined Parfetts’ drop shipping scheme, giving it access to 1,000 independent retailers nationwide through the firm’s symbol group.

Parfetts is one of the largest independent retail wholesalers in the UK and stocks more than 9,000 products in its network of cash and carry depots, while its symbol group consists of the Go Local, The Local and Go Local Extra outlets.

Virtus Brands has been added to its approved supplier list, meaning that it can offer and supply all of the products in its range, which include vodka, tequila, prosecco and Champagne, via Parfetts’ direct-to-store partnership with discount buying organisation Procuria.

It is the first alcohol brand to sell its products through the partnership and it follows the arrival at Virtus Brands of sales director Tony Houlston, who was able to put his 30 years’ experience of working in the UK food and drink retail sector to good use.

It also follows Parfetts having opened a major depot in Birmingham last year, opening up new opportunities for brands in the Midlands, which is a stronghold for Virtus Brands.

Virtus Brands is already planning a number of activation events at stores across the country, while retailers will receive a free case of Virtus Brand’s exclusive Pink prosecco when they place their first order.

Jatt Life, which is available in four different flavours and is also sold worldwide, is still the firm’s best-known brand, but it is also experiencing strong interest in other brands including Rico 69, which is a premium cream tequila, and Sweet Shop Vodka, a premium vodka available in four flavours, including rhubarb and custard, pear drop and cola cube.

Virtus Brands founder Baz Kooner, who set up Jatt Life in 2020, said the drop shipping deal will allow the company to strike the right balance between promoting and supplying its products as it continues its ambitious growth plans.

He said: “The dream for Virtus Brands is for our brands to be stocked worldwide in high-end bars and restaurants and big-name retailers, and signing this deal with Parfetts is a major step on the road for us.

“One of the biggest challenges as a growing business is being able to raise awareness and generate demand and then being able to supply enough products to meet it. Parfetts’ drop shipping arrangement helps solve both of those products for us.

“Consumers, especially at the younger end of the market, are increasingly looking for new, independent brands offering something they’ve never seen before. This is precisely what Virtus Brands is all about and we’re excited about the prospect of getting our products better known and meeting this demand.”

Jatt Life is now available in 15 countries and its success led to the creation of Virtus Brands at the end of last year.

The company employs 15 people at its 15,000 sq ft in-house production facility in Kingswinford, and is adding new brands to its collection all the time by working with up-and-coming drinks producers and entrepreneurs.

Other brands in the Virtus Brands collective include Pink prosecco, Madusa Champagne and G92 vodka, which is available in two flavours – original and strawberry and kiwi.

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