Diageo Canada announces agreement with Wirtz Beverage Group naming Wirtz exclusive national broker for Diageo beer, wine, spirits and ready-to-drink brands in Canada

TORONTO , March 3, 2014 (press release) – Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company, and Wirtz Beverage Group, a leading distributor of the world's top luxury and premium wine, spirits and beer brands, today announced that they have signed an agreement naming Wirtz Beverage as the exclusive national broker for Diageo beer, wine, spirits and Ready to Drink (RTD) brands in Canada . The new relationship is an important milestone in the evolution of Diageo's route to consumer strategy.

"This arrangement with Wirtz Beverage provides us with the best of both worlds – a broker that understands our business and a dedicated Canadian sales force that knows our brands and the Canada market," said Larry Schwartz , President Diageo North America. "I strongly believe that this is the right move for Diageo Canada. As a business, we must continually adapt to the market, which is why improving our route to consumer has been a priority for our company. We have seen the benefits of this model in other parts of the world and can see how it will make Canada a more agile and efficient business allowing us to further invest in Diageo and our brands."

Wirtz Beverage Group President Rocky Wirtz said, "Diageo and Wirtz Beverage have a long history of proven results, and we are eager to build on that success. We will leverage our commercial sales expertise with training and development programs, market analytics and technology tools to support the Diageo brands across Canada, and we look forward to working closely with the country's liquor boards."

Wirtz Beverage has been in the wholesale beverage business in the United States for nearly 70 years. The family owned and operated company is a division of Wirtz Corporation, whose diversified holdings make it one of America's largest privately held companies.

As a result of the new arrangement, Diageo's brands in Canada will be represented by a dedicated sales force within the new brokerage entity, Wirtz Beverage Canada . This means that many of the current Diageo sales people are expected to transition into roles within Wirtz Beverage Canada . The company will be under the leadership of Julian Burzynski , Wirtz Beverage Executive Vice President.

Jakob Ripshtein has been appointed President, Diageo Canada replacing Maggie Lapcewich . Jakob has been with Diageo since 2008 in a variety of roles globally and recently returned to Canada. Under Jakob's leadership, Diageo Canada will continue to directly manage all other aspects of its business, in addition to working with the dedicated sales force within the broker. The new arrangement and Jakob's new role are effective July 1, 2014 .

About Diageo
Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker , Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor , Buchanan's and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Guinness, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards Wines.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

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About Wirtz Beverage Group

Wirtz Beverage Group is transforming the identity and execution standards of beverage distribution, earning distinction by embracing innovation and aggressively driving top-line growth. Quality and integrity are company hallmarks while its financial stability is unrivaled. With more than 2,500 employees in Illinois , Iowa , Minnesota , Missouri , Nevada and Wisconsin , the company call the industry's elite beer, wine and spirit suppliers its partners.

Wirtz Beverage Group is a division of Chicago -based Wirtz Corporation whose diversified interests include financial services, real estate, insurance, entertainment, wholesale distribution and ownership of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Founded in 1926, Wirtz Corporation has been family-owned and operated for four generations.

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