Constellation Brands has lined up the acquisition of a premium Swedish vodka brand.

The US-based drinks giant confirmed today (6 January) that it is set to buy Svedka vodka from Guillaume Cuvelier and Belgian-based Alcofinance, for US$384m.

The transaction, which includes the acquisition of the brand's owner, Spirits Marque One, is expected to close in March.

Launched in 1998, Svedka saw sales leap 60% year-on-year in 2006 to around 1.1m cases, the majority of which were made in the US.

In 2005, the brand was the fastest-growing imported vodka in the US, with shipments up 43% on the previous year.

"Svedka's phenomenal success is largely due to the eye-catching and effective marketing and advertising campaigns that reach a key segment of the young adult market," said Richard Sands, Constellation's chairman and CEO.

"Svedka complements and enhances our premium spirits offerings by providing a popular and rapidly growing vodka brand in the largest US spirits category. It has strong brand equity and positive momentum, which we can build upon through increased US distribution, as well as international expansion.

Cuvelier, the founder of Spirits Marque One and creator of Svedka, will lead the New York-based brand management team. The marketing and sales team will retain their autonomy with the Svedka_Grl campaign (see second image) continuing to promote the brand.

"Constellation recognises Svedka's unique culture and capabilities," said Cuvelier. "Its management realises Svedka's future is extremely bright and they will fully support us as we continue to build upon the brand's current phenomenal growth rate and marketplace momentum. Our entrepreneurial culture fits perfectly with Constellation's, which differentiates our companies from others in the business."