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Pinnacle Vodka

Vodka represents almost a third of all spirits consumed in the USA. New vodka expressions abound, with flavours and brands from around the world still proliferating. Indeed, vodka flavours are getting even more prolific and edgier. Still, the reasons for vodka’s huge popularity remain primarily the easy mixability of the spirit and the continued popularity of cocktails made with vodka. In 2011, David Ozgo, senior vice president of economic and strategic analysis at the industry’s trade group, the Distilled Spirits Council, counted 115 different flavours in the vodka market.

Flavoured vodka is one of the fastest growing segments in the United States spirits industry and accounts for approximately 27% of leading branded vodka volume, and continues to grow in popularity as total vodka sales also increase. It was reported that almost three-quarters of new vodka products introduced in the USA in 2011 were flavoured vodka products. Virtually all of the flavoured vodka portfolios grew in 2011 with Diageo’s Smirnoff the market leader.

During 2012 nearly three-quarters of the vodkas introduced were flavoured offerings. While raspberry and citrus remained the most popular flavours, vodkas with sweeter profiles gained traction; whipped cream vodkas surged in volume to rank as the third largest flavour. Pinnacle Whipped Cream grew 324.5% to rank as the leading flavoured vodka brand and significant volume increases were achieved by several other imported brands.

Pinnacle vodka was launched in the USA in 2002 by White Rock Distilleries. It is distilled in France from French wheat then exported to the USA where it is flavoured and bottled. Pinnacle has become well-known for its wide range of flavours. Since its launch the brand has become one of the fastest growing brands in the vodka segment of the distilled spirits industry in the USA. The brand’s sales exploded in 2011, increasing sales by 92.9% to 2.7 million cases.

On April 23, 2012 it was announced that Beam Inc. was set to acquire the Pinnacle brand together with the Calico Jack rum brand along with related assets, for $605 million in cash, from White Rock Distilleries.

 Beam which produces Jim Beam whisley, Courvoisier cognac and Sauza tequila, said the addition of Pinnacle vodka brand would boost its presence in the large and growing vodka category and increase the company’s overall shareholder value.

Beam has said that it does not expect the acquisition to affect 2012 earnings, but said it will boost its 2013 results by between 5 cents and 10 cents per share and more in the next year and beyond. The company said it also expects the deal to result in cost savings that should exceed 20% of the brand’s sales.

Pinnacle’s 2012 sales volumes are expected to exceed 3 million 9-litre cases and Beam has just launched a new advertising and marketing campaign designed to let consumers know “It’s More Fun On Top”.” Since its introduction, Pinnacle has continued to change what consumers expect from their premium vodka with innovative never-been-done-before flavours. In addition to the original unflavoured Pinnacle, the brand portfolio includes more than 30 flavours from Pinnacle Whipped and Pinnacle Cake to Pinnacle Tropical Punch.

Communicating Pinnacle Vodka’s fun, playful, innovative personality and imported, premium quality, the multi-million dollar 360-degree advertising campaign for “It’s More Fun On Top” spans broadcast, print and digital mediums including mobile formats. The campaign also combines a step change in on- and off-premise promotion, innovative social media-driven consumer engagement and public relations, and reflects a significant increase in brand investment from the previous year. The television commercials for Pinnacle Vodka begin running in primetime on cable channels such as E!, Bravo, Discovery Channel and the Food Network through the end of the year and in 2013.

“In the large and growing vodka category, Pinnacle has always looked to be an innovator and not follow the pack,” said Beam General Manager Deb Boyda. “We had the chance to create an iconic integrated brand campaign from the ground up focusing on the fun of the product. While Pinnacle has achieved enormous success in a few short years, with this campaign we intend to take the brand to the next level.”

The campaign was created by Ogilvy & Mather Chicago. “In a category full of serious, Pinnacle has the opportunity to lighten the mood,” said Lee Newman, President, Ogilvy & Mather Chicago. “This work aims to position Pinnacle as the brand that understands that vodka can be both premium and fun.”

Source: Pat Brazzier, fellow beverage specialist

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