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EXCLUSIVE: Luxco’s Pearl Vodka Projects 500,000 Cases For 2013

May 6, 2013

Despite playing within a notoriously crowded category, Luxco-owned Pearl vodka is quickly gaining traction as an accessibly-priced, flavor-focused player. Retailing at around $12.99 a 750-ml., the Canadian import nearly doubled its volume in 2011, rising from 115,000 nine-liter cases to 220,000 cases, according to Impact Databank. Last year, Pearl jumped by 34% to 295,000 cases, and it’s projected to continue its double-digit climb this year and surpass the half-million-case mark, Luxco tells Shanken News Daily.

Featuring a 17-flavor lineup and an unflavored Black Label expression, Pearl’s primary focus is the off-premise. In order to encourage experimentation at retail, Pearl occasionally offers rebates that “allow consumers an opportunity to buy outside their normal purchase cycle” or try new flavors, says Brian Labuda, executive marketing manager and brands director for Luxco.

“You always hear that ‘brands are made in the on-premise.’ That may be true, but there are always consumers who appreciate discovering a brand at retail and having ownership of it,” he adds. “Pearl lives in that space very comfortably. Our strong presence in the off-premise often leads to on-premise accounts pouring Pearl for patrons who call for it.”

Flavors remain key to Pearl’s success. Its bestselling flavors include its Cucumber, Peach and Pomegranate expressions, but the brand is also seeing strong growth from its Wedding Cake flavor, which launched last year. Luxco also has high hopes for its recently-introduced party-pack—a 12-bottle sampler of differently flavored 50-ml. bottles ($10.99)—as well as its Pearl gin ($13.99 a 750-ml.), which marks the brand’s first foray beyond vodka. Additionally, Pearl vodka is currently in the process of a packaging update. It has already unveiled the new look on its new Chocolate Covered Cherry and Apple Pie flavors.

Labuda says continuing that pace of innovation will be key as Pearl battles larger competitors like Constellation’s Svedka and Beam’s Pinnacle in the accessibly priced imported vodka category. “We’re all competing for finite shelf space, and ultimately, for the consumer’s attention,” he says.

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