UDV's bold gin brand extension in the US with Tanqueray No. Ten has taken the market by storm, already picking up two spirits awards. Chris Brook-Carter talks to Peter Kreutzner, UDV's president of gin about the trends that have driven the launch of T10 and the future of the super-premium category.

just-drinks.com: What is the background behind the launch of T10 and your reasons for creating this brand?

Peter Kreutzner: The white spirits market in the US has a number of segments in it, everything from the value segment to the super premium segment. The parent brand of Tanqueray operates in the premium segment ($15 and above). And then there is a super-premium segment that is small but growing, and that is brands operating at over $22. Basically we are seeing that people are drinking less but better. So that segment is showing growth and we wanted to be a player in that sector. Tanqueray No. Ten was built to meet that consumer demand.

JD: Is Tanqueray No. Ten a brand that may be launched elsewhere?

PK: At the moment the US market trends are such that it is the world's biggest super-premium market. At this stage we are looking to see how well it performs there before taking it anywhere else. So no decision has been made but we are hopeful.

JD: What sort of other markets would be suitable for a launch like this?

PK: Most super-premium white spirit markets are the developed Western markets, Japan UK, Spain. Look at the G7 countries and you pretty much have them.

JD: Is the premium sector where the industry will see its main growth in the future?

PK: We see three segments super-premium, premium and standard. We believe the value growth will come from the super-premium segment. Already you see this in most white spirits markets. In the US you see the growth of Grey Goose, Vladivar, Belvedere - all those brands are tapping into this consumer need. They obviously see what we see. That is the consumer is drinking less but more premium brands.

JD: Is the super-premium sector something that can reinvigorate what has been a quiet gin market for a number of years?

PK: The premium sector is definitely something that can give gin a boost, that is why we are doing what we are doing and why are competitors are no doubt doing what they are doing.

JD: How does the launch of Tanqueray No. Ten fit into UDV's gin strategy?

PK: Tanqueray today operates in the premium sector with a loyal franchise. We have never had an entry in to the super-premium sector and a different consumer with different needs and occasions populates it. So we have extended the Tanqueray franchise into a broader footprint. We are actually talking to more consumers and we have no signs of alienating the traditional drinkers. As far as Gordon's goes, there is a large standard gin segment in the US which is altogether a different consumer base. A lot more gin and tonic is consumed at this level compared to stating your credentials with martini's at the premium end. With Tanqueray Ten are you tapping into non-traditional gin drinkers? The people who drink this brand will come from other super-premium brands - they would be brand drinkers not generic drinkers and they order by brand name.

JD: What are the main competitors to Tanqueray No. Ten?

PK: Our major competitors are the top end of the white spirit sector. But we believe that being one of the few super-premium gins in the market we have an advantage over some of our competitors that are in that vodka mould. Vodka is a different animal to gin; it is a tasteless, colourless liquid where gin has some flavour to it.

JD: Is there much promotion behind the brand?

PK: We are putting education behind it, educating the bar staff to know about the brand and what is special about it. The people who drink this brand are the people in the know and they are the first to discover brands anyway. So they make it their business to find out about new discoveries. There is some advertising but its more announcement advertising than anything else.

JD: Are there any other plans to diversify the Tanqueray brand?

PK: Not at this stage. We have a lot of road ahead of us that is fertile ground to plough in the markets I have mentioned.

JD: What about a pre-mixed gin and tonic on tap in the mould of the pre-mixed Pimms dispenser?

PK: The whole market is moving towards things like that. We look at everything and anything the consumer wants but it depends on the markets. There are different trends that consumers are looking for in different markets. In the UK, Gordon's is very strong alongside the pub culture. It may be something we would look at in this market, but the consumer in the UK is still very traditional and he or she likes to see their drink mixed in front of them.

JD: And finally how has Tanqueray No. Ten performed so far?

PK: It is exceeding our expectations.