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Diageo and Wirtz Beverage Group Renew Distribution Agreement

CHICAGO, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company, announced today that it has signed a long term agreement with Wirtz Beverage Group to distribute Diageo wine and spirits brands in the state of Illinois. Diageo's distribution arrangement in the state began in 2003 with Wirtz Beverage Illinois. Diageo brands such as Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, and Sterling Vineyard and Beaulieu Vineyards wines are sold and marketed by a separate sales force solely dedicated to Diageo brands in the state.

"Wirtz Beverage is recognized for achieving industry-leading growth for our premium supplier partners," said Wirtz Beverage Group President Rocky Wirtz. "We are proud of the Diageo partnership and look forward to bringing the marketplace the true excellence of their products."

"Wirtz Beverage Group has helped us build our business in Illinois over the past six years and we look forward to furthering this growth as we extend our relationship," said Jeff Ivey, Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy for Diageo North America. "We also look forward to working with them to continue our community involvement and leading the industry in social responsibility."

Wirtz Beverage Group has approximately 3,000 employees nationally and 1,100 in the state of Illinois. In addition to employing more than 400 people in Plainfield and Chicago, Diageo contributes approximately $1.2 million in local property taxes and $1.2 million in payroll taxes to the state. The alcohol beverage industry employs more than 131,000 people in Illinois and contributes more than $3 billion in wages, and nearly $979 million in state and local taxes.

About Wirtz Beverage Group

Wirtz Beverage Group, headquartered in Chicago, is one of the nation's leading alcohol beverage distributors with operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin. With more than $1.5 billion in annual sales, Wirtz Beverage Group counts the world's elite suppliers as its partners.

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, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading 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.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

SOURCE Diageo

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