Allied Domecq's Beefeater gin is looking younger. Even the distinctive Yeoman has trimmed his beard and has a spritely spring in his step.

Relaunched at TFWE 2000 in Cannes last week, the two elements of the brand's redesign are aimed at the duty-free market and the cocktail scene. Last year's youthful advertising campaign (A Bold Spirit Always Stands Out) depicting trendy Yeomen and a Yeo-woman is now transferred to an exclusive range of gift cartons for the travel retail market. At the same time, the Beefeater bottle has been elongated to give it more impact on the bar shelf for the on-trade business.

"This package change is key to pushing the brand further into the style bars around the world," Andrea Ghiglione, Beefeater's marketing director told "It has not had the reputation as the most edgy of gins but we hope the taller looking design, and the fact the bottle is more transparent, will make bar staff want to put it up prominently on the bar shelf."

Emphasising Beefeater at this point is important to Allied Domecq's portfolio, he said, because there is a lot of pressure on the gin brand to perform. "Beefeater is not just interesting for its heritage and because it is the only, truly London gin with its distillery in Kennington. It is Allied's only white spirit and our presence in this sector is Beefeater." Fighting the popularity of the Polish vodka brands in the cocktail scene will be difficult but he believes the design has "an echo of the vodka envirnoment."

BIBC 2000 - recipe for success?

Plymouth gin's resurgence in the past year and UDV's launch of Tanqueray Ten, with its sleek hexagonal bottle, has enlivened the premium gin sector. Allied is relying on Beefeater to achieve success in the premium sector but also to become a mass-volume brand against the mite of Gordon's. This could be a problem. It also seems unfair to dilute Beefeater's energy when it has an excellent premium gin to take some of the slack - Crown Jewel.

Allied's bar strategy division, balance-spirits ltd (which is sadly losing its founder Mark Esling in the next few weeks), has recently been championing this old warhorse, which has wallowed in the duty-free market for many years. At 50% abv it has the strength to appeal to the hardened gin martini drinker but its price, fluctuating around the £35- £40 mark, has alienated it from the average consumer. Ghiglione told that he has "plans" for the whole Beefeater portfolio and to "watch this space".

The brand's revamp coincides with this week's finale of the annual Beefeater International Bartenders Competition (BIBC), which returns to its home turf. Fourteen competitors from around the globe, from as far afield as Latvia and Japan, will descend on London hoping to stun the judges with flair and freestyle skills.

Desmond Payne, head of Beefeater distillery and one of the judges said: "We have tried to balance the elements of the BIBC International Finals, much like a good bartender balances the ingredients of a cocktail. However, for me the event that is the most challenging is creativity, where competitors really show their skills; and Free Style, which is about entertainment value and just about anything goes. We have seen some amazing free style presentations over the past three years of BIBC - magicians, fire-eaters, drag acts, jugglers - and, without wishing to embarrass any previous entrants, I will just say that we have put a ban on live animals and audience participation in this event for the 2000 finals!"

Ghiglione's own credentials to the gin-swilling fraternity is his love of the Beefeater martini, a legendary concoction at the Kennington distillery. In his words, it is like "falling off a waterfall but finding fire below."