Kyndal, the Scottish spirits group which was created just a year ago via a management buyout of the Jim Beam Brands European business, has celebrated its birthday by launching its first new product - L'ush.
The product is described as vodka with a taste of cream and is available as both a full strength 37.5 per cent abv vodka in 70cl bottles and as two 275ml, 5.1 per cent abv premixed drinks in strawberry and vanilla flavours.
The drinks are to be sold in the UK on-trade, and are the latest additions to the ever-growing ready-to-drink market there. The premium packaged spirits category is the fastest growing in the on-trade, with volumes rising 25 per cent a year on average, according to Kyndal. Products with a vodka base account for over 68 per cent of the category volume share.
Brian Megson, chief executive of Kyndal Spirits, said: "New product development will play a key role in the future growth plans of Kyndal, and L'ush is the first of a number of exciting new products that we will launch over the coming months. It is a dynamic market and we are determined to retain the competitive edge by having several innovative, new products in the pipeline."
Glen Gribbon, marketing director at Kyndal, added: "The 70cl creamed vodka has all the strength of pure vodka, softened by the addition of the vanilla cream top notes. It is a versatile brand that can be mixed, used as a shot or as a base for a cocktail and is made from naturally-flavoured products. It will initially be available in pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs with a view to extending this into licensed retailers over the coming months."
The decision to focus on the on-trade is based on the strength of the PPS category there. According to Kyndal, the total market for premium packaged spirits in the UK is valued at around £1.3 billion (€2.04bn), with 57 per cent of this (£977 million) coming from sales in the on-trade. The company did not say whether the brand would eventually be rolled out in the off-trade as well, but that cannot be ruled out.
L'ush is being positioned as a chic urban brand, Gribbon said, with the full-size and RTD variants designed to help it appeal to both men and women.
As with any new product launch, L'ush will be supported by a major promotional campaign, including product sampling and point-of-sale material including posters, flyers, stickers, t-shirts, pourers and shot glasses. A L'ush sampling team will be in action creating the 'L'ush Lounge' - an area in the bar where L'ush's beauty team will take over and offer consumers a complimentary L'ush Luxury while they enjoy the taste of L'ush - from a professional nail polish to a hair re-style.
The brand will also be heavily promoted online through www.livelifelush.com and a viral marketing programme.
While its first new product is a vodka, Kyndal is best known as a Scotch whisky maker, and has a 9 per cent share of the global Scotch market with brands such as Whyte & Mackay, Dalmore and Isle of Jura. But it already has another strong vodka brand in the form of Vladivar - which also comes in an RTD format, the cherry-flavoured Veba - as well as the whisky-based liqueur Glayva.
Not surprisingly, Kyndal has remained tight-lipped about the other products in the pipeline, but the likelihood of there being other RTD products cannot be ruled out. Will we see a whisky-based RTD - of which there are very few currently on the market, with Diageo's J&B Twist the notable exception - or will Kyndal continue to diversify away from its core whisky business with products such as, say a cream liqueur? Watch this space.