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Pernod Ricard Begins U.S. Launch Of Absolut Elyx, A Handcrafted Ultra-Premium Vodka

April 15, 2013

Pernod Ricard USA has begun rolling out Absolut Elyx, its new handcrafted upscale vodka extension, in key urban markets across the United States.

Absolut Elyx is now moving into prestige venues in the on-premise, as well as selected off-premise accounts, the company tells Shanken News Daily exclusively. Launch markets include New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, Boston and Washington, D.C. The suggested retail price is $49.99 a 1-liter bottle. Elyx will introduce a 1.75-liter size for the on-premise in May, and a 750-ml. will be added later this year.

“Because (Elyx) is handcrafted and distilled, it’s launching in a more gradual way and won’t go national from day one,” said Paul Duffy chairman and CEO of The Absolut Company. “We see this as very much a demand-led rather than pushed-out approach.”

Elyx debuted in travel retail in 2011 and has since moved into a few international markets, including Australia and Brazil. “But we were really gearing up for the U.S. market—and now it’s happening,” Duffy said.

The name Elyx comes from a combination of the English word elixir and the Swedish word lyx, which means luxury. Elyx is the inspiration of Absolut master distiller Krister Aperlund, who produces it in a copper still that was built in 1921.

Absolut abides by a “one source,” principle, whereby its ingredients and production are all within the Skane region in southern Sweden. Absolut Elyx takes that concept a step further—sourcing its ingredients and production within a 15-mile radius of Absolut’s hometown of Ahus in the Skane region.

“This is a tremendously important launch for us,” said Duffy. “It marks the first time Absolut has extended into handcrafted and luxury vodka. Absolut Elyx can capitalize on two strong trends: growth in ultra-premium vodka (up 9.5% in the 52 weeks ending March 30) and the move to handcrafted, small-batch spirits. We think the timing is right, and we see an opportunity to take leadership in this area.”

Sales of the core Absolut brand rose 3.1% by value and 2.9% by volume in the 13 weeks ending March 30, according to Nielsen.

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