Liquor importer and manufacturer Star Industries of Syosset has named Empire Merchants of Brooklyn and Astoria as its exclusive distributor for Long Island, New York City and Westchester.
Empire replaces Phoenix/Beehive Beverage Distributors of Brooklyn, which is merging with Manhattan Brewers of the Bronx and backed out of its arrangement with Star, according to Star chief executive Martin Silver.
Star, which says it is the region's leading vodka supplier, manufactures Georgi, Alexi and Majorska vodkas as well as Caribaya Rum, Llord's Cordials & Liqueurs and Donegal Estates Irish Whiskey.
Empire is a larger distributor, Silver said, so the changeover will get Star's products into more retail establishments -- in particular, he said, bars and restaurants.
Through Phoenix/Beehive, Star's products were in about 95 percent of the 1,800 or so liquor stores in the boroughs and Westchester, and on Long Island, Silver said.
"We're in most stores now, but it's the bars and restaurants where we have to increase our sales," he said. Since Empire began distributing its products on Jan. 1, Star beverages are in about 300 more bars and restaurants than before, or a total now of 6,500 to 7,000, Silver said.
Nationally, the company expects to sell about a million cases this year, he said. A breakdown by region wasn't immediately available.
Both Star and Empire are privately held and terms of the new arrangement were not disclosed.