SCHIEFFELIN GIN FOLLOWS VODKA WITH NEW FLAVOR

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With flavored vodkas all the rage, Schieffelin & Somerset Co. is betting consumers are thirsty for an enhanced gin.

The distiller plans to roll out a spiced gin called Malacca later this summer, industry insiders said.

Schieffelin declined to comment on the Malacca launch.

Deutsch, New York, will handle advertising supporting the gin, an extension of the Tanqueray line.

"The flavored vodka business has become a significant factor," said Tom Pirko, president of consultancy BevMark.

"The gin people, who ride shotgun to the vodka people, can't ignore that trend," he said.

Schieffelin plans to initially pitch Malacca-which one executive described as having a "Caribbean" flavor-to the African-American market.

The marketing focus would later broaden.

TINY CATEGORY

Although flavored vodkas are increasingly popular-Carillon Importers this month breaks print ads featuring its entire flavored Stolichnaya line-flavored gins are a tiny category.

The niche represented about 200,000 cases sold in 1996, more than two-thirds of it being Seagram Cos.' Gin & Juice drink, according to newsletter Impact.

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