Site Vodkat in light spirits, says supplier

28 May, 2010

Intercontinental Brands has petitioned major retail customers not to merchandise its Vodkat schnapps alongside vodka.

It is also undertaking a trade marketing campaign to communicate the message to the independent trade.

The company lost a court case earlier this year in which Smirnoff producer Diageo alleged Vodkat was being passed off as genuine, full-strength vodka.

ICB is appealing the decision and has a stay of execution against an injunction to withdraw Vodkat pending the outcome.

Managing director John Mills said the company was already working on new packaging for the 22% abv product should the appeal fail – which would be the ­second redesign for the brand in under a year.

Mills said: “We’ve written to customers to say: ‘Please don’t put it next to vodka

but in what we call the ‘growing light spirit’ category’, so it’s next to things such as Malibu, Archers, Taboo and so on.”?Mills said the expense of the case would have a positive outcome if it meant the court’s test of whether a “fool in a hurry” could be misled by Vodkat and its marketing was passed in the long run.

“We want our product to be seen for what it is,” said Mills. “That’s the positive out of this.

“If we take a short-term dip in sales because a few people who might have bought it thinking it was vodka don’t in the future, then it will have been a good thing.”

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