Sidney Frank, the founder and Chairman of Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc., the American importer of such brands as Jägermeister Liqueur, Corazón Tequila, and Gekkeikan Saké, as well as the creator of Grey Goose Vodka, passed away on Tuesday, January 10, 2006. He was 86.
A dynamic and creative individual who never tired of work and who always had time for his employees, Sidney Frank will be missed by all who were lucky enough to have known his generous sprit and larger-than-life personality.
Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Sidney attended Brown University before heading to Asia where he represented Pratt & Whitney Motors during World War II. Upon his return to the United States in 1945, Sidney found work with Schenley Distillers where he was responsible for the success of such brands as Dewar's White Label and Ancient Age.
In 1972, Sidney founded Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc. His reputation as a ‘brand builder’ helped win him such brands as Hudson’s Bay Scotch, and in 1974, Sidney began importing Jägermeister.
At the time, Jägermeister was a little-known herbal liqueur, so Sidney had to infuse the brand with a little marketing magic to make it move. Through creative marketing that forever changed the industry, Sidney built Jägermeister into the best-selling imported liqueur in the United States and the nation's favorite shot brand. In 2005, Jägermeister sold over two million cases.
In 1997, Sidney came up with the idea for an ultra-premium French-made vodka and so developed Grey Goose Vodka. Through Sidney's innovative marketing and creative advertising, Grey Goose became the best-selling ultra-premium vodka in the country. In 2004, Sidney sold the brand for over $2 billion, an industry record.
Up until his death, Sidney was hard at work on new brands and new ideas. He was getting ready to introduce his newest creation, Michael Collins Irish Whiskey this March, and was very excited about all the new work ahead of him.
As hard as Sidney worked on his professional pursuits, he worked just as hard on his philanthropic pursuits. Active in various professional, cultural, and charitable organizations, Sidney was Chairman of the Board of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation. Recently, Sidney gave $100 million to Brown University for a scholarship fund. The gift was the single largest the school ever received. He also gave Brown a gift of $20 million for a new school building and $5 million in additional funds for students affected by Hurricane Katrina. His largesse had also been extended to the American Heart Association, the Robin Hood Foundation, the White Plains Hospital, and many other organizations. Listed in Forbes as one of the nation's top philanthropists, Sidney Frank was looking forward to making more differences in the lives of others through giving.
Sidney had long been interested in the field of aviation and greatly admired the genius of RJ Mitchell. He believed it to be of the utmost importance that the man behind the Spitfire and its success should be better known and appreciated. To this end, he was delighted to have commissioned this web site to RJ Mitchell’s memory.
An avid golfer and art collector who once ran an art company with the world-renowned artist Yaacov Agam, Sidney is survived by his wife, Marian; his children Cathy Halstead and Matthew Frank; five grandchildren: Liza Finkelstein-Laurant, Jennie Finkelstein, Mark, Alexandra, and Russell Frank; two great-grandchildren: Tia and Olivier; a sister, Edna Nowitz; his nephew, John Frank, Chairman of Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc.; countless close friends; and eternally loyal employees.