Ethical vodka brand Snow Leopard is poised to dramatically expand its off-trade presence following a new strategic partnership with spirits giant Whyte & Mackay.

The deal will see the Vladivar owner take a minority stake in Snow Leopard, which donates 15% of its profits to the Snow Leopard Trust.

The new partnership would allow the three-year-old vodka brand to improve "its route to market and sales force", said Snow Leopard founder Stephen Sparrow, who claimed he had turned down other multinational groups seeking a tie-up.

Although Snow Leopard is currently only stocked in Waitrose and premium retail outlets, Sparrow expected the investment to make other retailers take notice.

"The marketing, sales and distribution muscle of Whyte & Mackay will enable Snow Leopard to expand across the UK off-trade and hopefully into the US," he said. "We are very happy with Waitrose as it has helped our brand get off the ground, but with this new expertise and input we can double or triple the business in a matter of years."

Snow Leopard has an rsp of £30 but Whyte & Mackay global sales and marketing director Nick Garland expected the company portfolio to benefit from having a product with a strong ethical stance. "I have long admired what Stephen has done by creating a fantastic product with a responsible aim behind it and I recognised there was a gap for a luxury vodka in our portfolio. Snow Leopard fits the bill perfectly," he said.

The Snow Leopard Trust was set up to save the remaining 3,500 snow leopards from extinction.