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 TEANECK, N.J., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- International Distillers & Vintners (IDV), the drinks sector of Grand Metropolitan PLC, announced today that it has been assigned by PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) the exclusive distribution rights for Stolichnaya vodka and certain other brands of Russian vodka in the USA and Mexico with effect from Feb. 1, 1994. PepsiCo has held the U.S. rights for Stolichnaya vodka from Russia's Sojuzplodoimport since 1973 and will continue to do so on IDV's behalf at least until December 2000.
 The agreement is subject to U.S. regulatory approvals. The price, which is not material to Grand Metropolitan shareholders' funds, is not disclosed.
 Stolichnaya Russian vodka is the second largest-selling imported vodka brand in the U.S., with sales in 1992 of approximately 1 million nine-liter cases (source: Impact International). The other brands of Russian vodka involved in the agreement are Stolichnaya Cristall, Russkaya and Priviet, plus the flavored vodkas of Limonaya, Pertsovka and Okhotnichaya.
 IDV will nominate Carillon Importers Limited (Teaneck), one of its U.S. importing companies, to act as exclusive U.S. distributor, and Premium Brands (Mexico City), owned by Jose Cuervo, as exclusive distributor in Mexico.
 "I will be pleased to comment on this important assignment after Feb. 1, when it becomes effective," Michel Roux, President and CEO of Carillon Importers, said. "Until then, we at Carillon have a commitment to market Absolut Vodka, and we will continue to fulfill that commitment with all our energy and ability as we have done in the past."
 John McGrath, Chairman and Chief Executive of IDV and a Director of Grand Metropolitan, said: "Stolichnaya, one of the world's most recognized drinks brands, is an excellent fit for IDV, and particularly for Carillon. Under the leadership of Carillon President Michel Roux, who built Absolut's volumes in the U.S. to almost 3 million cases in 14 years, we intend to build the Stolichnaya brand significantly in the U.S. and Mexico. The addition of Stolichnaya to our U.S. vodka portfolio, which includes Smirnoff, Popov and Finlandia, gives IDV an excellent range of vodka brands in the various price segments of the beverage alcohol market in the U.S."
 George Bull, Chief Executive of Grand Metropolitan, added: "The acquisition of the U.S. and Mexico distribution rights for Stolichnaya is another important step in our strategy of developing a portfolio of major international brands. Under Carillon Importers' expertise, we can anticipate strong growth in the U.S. premium vodka market. Building Russian brands in export markets is one of the many ways Western businesses can contribute to the Russian economy. With Stolichnaya, a truly excellent world class vodka, we are privileged to have this opportunity."
 -0- 1/11/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Grand Metropolitan PLC is one of the largest international companies in the United Kingdom and a world leader in branded food and drinks, with annual sales of approximately 8.0 billion pounds sterling.
 International Distillers & Vintners is the drinks sector of Grand Metropolitan PLC. One of the world's leading companies in its sector, it is established in over 50 countries. Through national distribution companies and in joint venture partnerships, it markets a wide portfolio of its own and agency brands across the world. IDV's major brands are world leaders:
 -- J&B is now the world's second largest Scotch whisky brand and is sold in every legal drinks market in the world (more than 180 countries and territories). In 1993 sales were 6.2 million cases.
 -- Smirnoff is the number one vodka brand in the world, with sales of 14.8 million cases in 1993. It ranks number two in the world's Top 100 spirits.
 -- Baileys Original Irish Cream is the world's number one individual liqueur brand, with sales of 3.8 million cases.
 IDV's other international brands include Cinzano vermouths and wines, Malibu, Croft port and Croft sherry, Archer's Peach County Schnapps, Metaxa, Le Piat d'Or, Gilbey's and Bombay gin, and The Singleton of Auchroisk.
 IDV sells more wines and spirits than any other company. In 1993 it sold over 100 million cases, with a total value of 3.4 billion pounds, and its operating profit was 561 million pounds, a 14% increase over the previous year.
 During the past year, as well as adding several brands to its portfolio, IDV has significantly expanded its operations throughout the world, particularly in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific. The Pierre Smirnoff Company has been established in Moscow, bringing Smirnoff vodka back to its roots 75 years after the Russian Revolution and sales are expanding rapidly.
 In September, IDV announced the creation of International Distillers China, a wholly owned company to market and distribute IDV's brands in The People's Republic of China. And in November, IDV established a joint venture with Polychem Ltd. in India, to produce several IDV international brands, as well as developing and manufacturing international standard spirits specifically for the Indian market.
 In Europe, IDV most recently acquired a 21% equity interest in Champagne Laurent-Perrier, one of the leading champagne houses and the largest family controlled house in Champagne.
 IDV announced on Oct. 12, 1993, that it had been advised that Vin & Sprit (V&S) would not renew its relationship with Carillon Importers for the U.S. distribution of Absolut beyond Sept. 30, 1994; and on Jan. 3, 1994, IDV announced agreement to transfer U.S. distribution of Absolut to Seagram from Feb. 1, 1994, for a sum which takes account of the profit foregone by Carillon between Feb. 1 and Sept. 30, 1994, as well as settlement of all other issues.
 According to Impact International's most recent available figures, Stolichnaya was the number two imported vodka in the U.S. market in 1992 with 950,000 nine-liter cases, selling in the "super-premium" category; it was the sixth largest vodka brand worldwide, ranked 59th in the 1992 Impact International Top 100 spirit brands. North America accounts for approximately 55% of the worldwide sales of Stolichnaya./
 /CONTACT: Patricia Barroll of Carillon Importers, 201-836-7799/

CO: International Distillers & Vintners; Grand Metropolitan PLC;
 Carillon Importers Limited ST: New Jersey IN: FOD SU:

JG-TW -- NY055 -- 0960 01/11/94 13:22 EST
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Date:Jan 11, 1994

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