New York-based Stoli Group USA LLC announced that effective immediately it will hold the importation, distribution, sales and marketing rights for the KAH Tequila brand. This development closes out a banner year across the portfolio, driven by continued sales increases for the group's namesake Stoli Vodka and its ultra-luxury elite Vodka, extension into 24 states for Bayou Rum, and the wine division's multiple recognitions, the company says.

Stoli Group's foray into tequila comes at a time of near-unprecedented growth for the category, it says. According to IWSR's "US Beverage Alcohol Review 2016," tequila posted 5.2 percent growth to surpass the 15 million 9-liter-case mark in 2015.

KAH, which translates to "life" in the ancient Mayan language, is produced by Fabrica de Tequilas Finos in Jalisco, Mexico. It was designed to pay reverence and honor to Mexico and its people, the company says. The product range features four expressions, each made from hand-selected 100 percent blue agave. Each is presented in its own uniquely decorated, spirited skull bottle, it adds.

The following are brands within the KAH portfolio and their tasting notes as described by the company:  

  • KAH Blanco starts with a sweet taste, followed by a peppery spice.
  • KAH Reposado features a powerful and viscous taste after going through a 10-month aging process.
  • KAH Añejo features agave, chocolate and coffee notes.
  • KAH Extra Añejo has been matured for four-and-a-half years in American oak casks.

"We are on a fast track at Stoli Group with innovative line extensions and [a]strategic portfolio expansion," said Patrick Piana, president and chief executive officer of Stoli Group USA, in a statement. "KAH Tequila is an inventive product line and provides a springboard into a category that is rising quickly in popularity with consumers. Our whole team is toasting to this new opportunity."

Stephen Ballard, senior vice president of sales for North America, added, "Stoli Group USA relishes the chance to develop the KAH brand and expects to see it thrive on- and off-premise with the support of our strong network of distributor partners across America."   

In September, it was announced that Stoli's fellow SPI Group subsidiary, Amber Beverage Group, acquired a significant equity stake in Fabrica de Tequilas Finos.