The story began in Trieste, in 1884, when 18-year-old Lionello Stock from Dalmatia opened a small steam distillery, intending to distil local wines which were popular with the French for cognac production after an outbreak of late blight destroyed their harvest. This was the birth of Cognac Stock Medicinal, joined in 1935 by the 1884 Cognac Fine Champagne, which was to become the famous Brandy Stock 84 in 1955. After the First World War many factories were built in Europe and elsewhere: his success was based on marketing and advertising. Later Stock relaunched itself using its brandy, and between the 1950s and 1960s Stock products were distributed in 125 countries, expanding into whisky, vodka, grappa, bitters, gin and sweet liqueurs. In 1995 Stock was purchased by German company Eckes AG., a company producing alcoholic drinks and fruit juices. In 2007 Stock Spirit Group became the owner of American fund Oaktree, which numbers many brands today including Stock Original, Stock Napoleon and Stock 84.