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£5 million for Russian Standard UK launch

Russian Standard vodka is rolling out in the UK supported by a £5 million marketing budget that includes print, poster and a rather risqué TV execution, emphasising the brand’s authenticity.

Flamboyant billionaire owner Roustam Tariko says: “Around the world people are striving for authenticity. We have dedicated the time and the resources to take Russia’s vodka tradition into the 21st century.”

The brand has been a big hit in its home market since launching in 1998, and now commands 65% of the Russian premium vodka market. Last year it shifted 1.4m cases worldwide, an increase of 40%. With export figures now outpacing growth in Russia, the company aims to break through the 2m case mark this year.

First Drinks Brands will distribute the three variants of Russian Standard in the UK. Managing director Chris Mason explains: “The UK is a very tough spirits market, it’s flat at best. However, we think that this brand is a real contender. It has the credentials of a great brand, and is backed up by some impressive support… there’s a real demand for ‘the real thing’ and people are prepared to pay more for a brand that has provenance.” It has already secured listings with three of the four major multiple grocers, and will be priced on par with Smirnoff red label.

© Ben Grant, db 3 October 2007

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