US-based wine-and-spirits group Foley Family Wines (FFW) has entered the country’s vodka market, a category it sees as “primed for premiumisation”.

High Ground, a rye-based vodka, marks FFW’s entry into the vodka market. It is distilled and bottled at the group’s Minden Mill distillery in Nevada.

“Vodka remains the largest spirit category and High Ground is the perfect entry into this segment,” FFW president Shawn Schiffer said.

“Similar to what we’ve seen in whiskey, gin and Tequila, vodka is primed for premiumisation. As a small-batch, estate vodka, High Ground is the perfect addition to FFW as we expand and diversify our global spirits collection.”

High Ground vodka is available in Nevada and California at an SRP of $30.

FFW cited Circana market research that showed vodka as the largest category by nine-litre case volume in the US. It added High Ground’s price segment – $22 to $30 – is the second-fastest growing at 6%, for the 52-week period ending 24 March.

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The California-based group entered spirit production last year with the acquisition of a distillery in Minden in Nevada, at which it plans to also produce gin, Bourbon and American single malt.

The site in Minden in Nevada houses an American whiskey and white spirit distillery, as well as a 100-year-old flour mill. The acquisition also included the distillery’s existing stock of Bourbon, rye and single malt whiskies.

FFW also launched the New Zealand Lighthouse Gin brand onto the US market last November. It purchased the brand in 2014.

Last month, the company secured the rights to distribute Loch Lomond Group’s Scotch whiskies and Champagnes in the US.

April also saw FFW announce it had been picked as the new importer and distributor for Mexican Tequila brand El Mexicano.

The company told Just Drinks last year that it is also mulling an entry into the low-and-no alcohol category.

“It’s kind of a nascent part of beverage alcohol right now, if you will, and we’re certainly going to look and see where we can play in that space,” Schiffer said in an interview with Just Drinks.