Marc Hasenfuss Investors Monthly editor, writer & columnist

The shares of liquor conglomerate Distell have been suffering a prolonged hangover since the bubbly levels of R172 that they reached in October last year. Last week Distell made a strategic foray into the vibrant — but competitive — vodka market by buying a 75% stake in Cruz Vodka (for a rumoured R200m). The deal will cheer those Distell shareholders who are clamouring for acquisitions and strategic partnerships to strengthen the corporate cocktail. But perhaps even more encouraging than corporate shaking and stirring is the news that Distell’s flagship wine range, Nederburg, enjoyed a strong showing on the authoritative Drinks International "World’s Most Admired Wine Brands" list, vaulting 13 positions to a commendable 35th ranking.Distell’s smaller rival, KWV, which I seem to remember featuring prominently on the list maybe five years back, has slipped off the table — which is strange, given the numerous awards the company’s wines have collected in the past four years. Distell is ...

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