FRANCE: Absolut set to drop flavours - Pernod
Speaking exclusively to just-drinks in Moscow earlier this week, Pierre Pringuet, who will replace Patrick Ricard as CEO of Pernod in November, said that the vodka brand had been the victim of "some dilution" of its image, following the release of a slew of different flavours by its current owner, Vin & Sprit, in recent years.
"My feeling is that there have been too many flavours launched one after the other - something like twice a year, recently," Pringuet said. "On the one hand, this is useful for increasing Absolut's facings in a bar, but I feel there are still too many, lending themselves to some dilution of the brand's image at the turn of the century."
"In 2004, they (V&S) clearly refocused the strategy around the blue label original vodka. We believe that's the right direction, and V&S's management agrees with us."
"It's too early to say if there will be a reduction in the flavour portfolio as it stands," Pringuet added, "but, my opinion is that there will be. The final decision, however, will be taken by the new brand owner, which is the existing Absolut team."
Pringuet conceded that new flavours would be released in the future, but "at a much lower frequency and with something that will be distinctive".
Pernod is set to take ownership of V&S this summer, after it acquired the company from the Swedish government earlier this year for US$8.88bn.
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