Karoulias | History
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history

Our History

Our company starts with Wally (Vlassis) Karoulias, an energetic businessman, originating from the Greek population of Eastern Romylia (SE Bulgaria today). At the beginning of the 1940s he comes to Athens, and decides to continue the family wines and spirits enterprise that his grand-father had started. Since then, the company has followed a long, successful course of development; during the last 15 years it made a series of important business moves, which gave it one of the top positions in the Greek wines and spirits market and has allowed it to enter the beverages sector (coffee, tea and syrups) with remarkable progress, as well.

1940s
Wally Karoulias founds the initial family enterprise of general trade in the centre of Athens
1960s
The initial Wally Karoulias wines and spirits company is founded. Its headquarters are in Kolonaki, Athens. Wally manages to acquire the distribution rights for many famous international alcoholic drink brands of the time (Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky being one of them)
1970s
The company is upgraded into an S.A. and expands, through acquiring distribution rights for some of the most famous drinks of the time. Some of the well-known brands distributed by the company at the time were Chivas, Cutty Sark, Bacardi, Smirnoff, Tia Maria, Cointreau, Remy Martin etc.
1992 The British company BERRY BROS & RUDD  (owner of Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky) acquires the majority of W.S. KAROULIAS SA stocks, after the death of Wally Karoulias on August 2nd 1989.
1992 The distribution of MARTINI begins.
1993 The company headquarters move to Kifissia, Attica, Greece.
1994 A distribution agreement is signed with the American company BROWN FORMAN for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
1995 Distribution of Southern Comfort starts (another product of BROWN FORMAN).
1998 The headquarters of W.S. KAROULIAS SA move from Kifissia to their new, fully owned premises, in Agios Stefanos, Attica. A basis of collaboration with REMY HELLAS SA (MAXXIUM HELLAS) is agreed. Through this, W.S. KAROULIAS SA takes over the distribution and marketing of the MAXXIUM HELLAS brands (The Famous Grouse, Ouzo Plomariou Ι. Arvanitou, Cointreau, Remy Martin, Jaegermeister, The Macallan etc.).
1999 The company acquires the rights of distribution for the Greek market of METAXA, the top Greek spirit brand internationally.
2001 BERRY BROS & RUDD acquires 100% of the company, maintaining a purely Greek management
2004 W.S. KAROULIAS SA makes a powerful entrance in the Greek wine industry, signing a long-term business agreement with the KIR-YIANNI wine-making company. The company enters new partnerships in the field of wine. In this framework, W.S. KAROULIAS SA takes over the distribution and marketing of the high-quality wine products of KIR YIANNI.
2005 The company signs agreements with DOMAIN SPIROPOULOS and DOMAIN SIGALA. During the same year, it also starts a collaboration with BORCO Markenimport GMBH , taking over the distribution of Sierra Tequila and Finsbury gin, and with C&C International for the  distribution of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey & Carolans.
2006 A distribution agreement with the UNION OF WINE-MAKING CO-OPERATIVE OF SAMOS is signed. W.S. KAROULIAS SA undertakes the distribution and marketing of the high-quality wine products of SAMOS.
2007 Tsipouro Tsililis and Grape Distillates are added to the portfolio of W.S. KAROULIAS, while two more agreements are signed with the Greek wine estates GENTILINI (May 2007) and Katogi-Strofilia (September 2007). During the same year the collaboration with BROWN FORMAN expands, as W.S. KAROULIAS takes over the distribution of the Mexican tequilas El Jimador & Herradura, produced by Mexico’s “Casa Herradura”. Last but not least, the ultra-premium gin G-Vine, of EuroWineGate, is launched in the Greek market.
2008 W.S. KAROULIAS signs a long-term agreement with the SPI Group acquiring the distribution rights of the premium vodkas “STOLICHNAYA” and “ELIT by Stolichnaya”. During the same year the company begins the distribution of  RON VARADERO, the authentic Cuban rum.
2009 IMA Beverages S.A. is founded, a company related to W.S. KAROULIAS, through which a new partnership with the BOUTARI wine company is signed.
2010 W.S. KAROULIAS SA signs a business agreement with Avantis Estate and Wine Art Estate.
2011 Following the sale of Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky, BB&R decided to sell their Distribution Company in Greece. W.S.Karoulias SA has become one of the leading wine and spirits companies in Greece. The company has grown and evolved over the last 20 years, by its Managing Director Mr. Chris Argyrou and his team. Mr. Argyrou, through IMA S.A. led the MBO of W.S. Karoulias and has requested the Managing Director of BB&R Mr. Hugh Sturges to remain at the company’s Board as Chairman, after the retirement of the present Chairman Mr. Tony Easter.
2012 W.S.Karoulias enters the Greek gastronomy products market by initiating a cooperation with Papadimitriou S.A. for the distribution of their balsamic vinegars and mustard. The distribution of the products of Fabbri starts during the same year.
2012 Continuing the series of important business moves, W.S.Karoulias enters the coffee market with Cortese (espresso) and the distribution agreement with Dalmayr.
2013 The company signs agreements with La Martiniquaise for LABEL 5 Premium Scotch Whisky & SIR EDWARDS Scotch Whisky and the BULLDOG Gin Company for BULLDOG Premium Gin. During the same year, the company acquires distribution rights for Paulaner beer.
2014 Two new distribution agreements with SABMILLER (Miller, Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, Grolsch) and ESTRELLADAMM. (Estrella Barcelona and Inedit) are signed.
2014 The quality wines of Troupis, Barafakas and Gavalas winery join the company’s wine portfolio.
2015 A year later, W.S.Karoulias signs and agreement with Dourakis winery and Zafirakis estate for the distribution of their wines.
2016 The company extends its cooperation with Tsililis S.A. for the distribution of Bianco Nero sparkling wine.
2016 W.S.Karoullias acquires the rights of distribution for Οuzo 12, one of the most important ouzo brands, and signs an agreement with Gruppo Campari .
2016 SOUTHERN COMFORT returns to W.S.Karoulias (now a brand of Sazerac U.S.A). The famous sambuca Molinari and the quality beer products of SEPTEM Mircobrewery, also join the company.