Boby Kurian

Bangalore, May 6

RADICO Khaitan's much-anticipated foray into the fast-growing vodka segment of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) market will be under the brand, Magic Moments.

This along with last year's acquisition, Whytehall whisky, will be in the list of focus brands for the current financial year, 2005-06.

Mr Abhishek Khaitan, Managing Director of Radico Khaitan Ltd (RKL), said the company was getting ready to launch Magic Moments vodka next month even though he did not divulge its pricing details .

It will be in the regular priced segment where it would face the leading domestic vodkas such as Romanov and White Mischief, both belonging to the UB Group fold. The company already has a presence in the gin segment with the Magic Moments brand.

Meanwhile, RKL closed the last financial year, 2004-05, with sales crossing 10 million cases. Its flagship brand 8 PM Whisky reported 37 per cent growth to close at 3.35 million cases, while Contessa Rum accounted for depletions of 2.7 million cases. The medium-priced Old Admiral Brandy almost doubled its sales to 1.4 million cases.

Mr Khaitan said the company expected to post 25 per cent volume increase in the ongoing financial year. "The new vodka along with Whytehall Whisky (which was acquired from Bacardi Martini India Pvt Ltd) last year will be the main focus brands for the year," he added.

It is learnt that Whytehall, priced in the regular plus category alongside Seagram's Imperial Blue, is coming through a packaging makeover in its bid for a rejuvenated stint in the marketplace. The company said the brand extensions of the 8 PM brand has started evoking good response in the market.

The recent introduction of Excellency brandy under the 8 PM umbrella in markets such as Kerala and Andhra Pradesh was a case in point, company officials said. This flavour extension, priced at Rs 250 per quart and pitched against established brands such as Honey Bee and No.1 McDowell, has mopped up monthly sales of about 10,000 cases.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 7, 2005)
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