E&J Gallo launched New Amsterdam in the UK late last year

E&J Gallo launched New Amsterdam in the UK late last year

The head of E&J Gallo's European operations has defended the company's recent launch of the New Amsterdam vodka brand in the UK, despite a dip in vodka sales in the country.

Gallo extended the footprint for New Amsterdam, which is also available in the US, into the UK late last year. However, recent figures from Euromonitor show that the vodka category in the country slipped in 2012 by 0.2% in volume terms.

Speaking to just-drinks at Gallo's annual trade media update in London today (25 February), VP & general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Bill Roberts, said that the brand could still do well in the UK.

“We're on track with where we thought we'd be with the brand,” he said.

“I'm not worried that we've missed the boat. Any good brand initiative can correct that. I use (Gallo's wine brand) Barefoot as an example: The UK wine category is declining in volumes, but Barefoot is a good wine initiative: Look how well it's performing. So, it doesn't bother me at all.”

Regarding the slip in vodka volumes in the country last year, Roberts said: “That makes our work harder, there's no doubt. It's not ideal.”

Gallo will boost New Amsterdam's portfolio in the UK with the addition of flavour variants “18 months from now”, Roberts told just-drinks.

Looking ahead, Roberts said that the company will also launch New Amsterdam in Germany and the Netherlands, with plans to roll out to Ghana and Nigeria.