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SEAGRAM OF VENEZUELA SEEKS TO EXPAND RUM SALES IN ITALY

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CARACAS -- Inspired by the success of its Cacique Rum brand in Spain, Seagram of Venezuela has launched a project to boost the tropical spirit's sales in Italy from last's year's level of 65,000 bottles to 100,000 this year.

On a trip to Venezuela recently, Luca Gargano, president of Italian liquor distributor Velier, said that although Cacique's share is still low, it has managed to position itself among the top 10 brands of rum in Italy. "Ten years ago, Italy's 6-million-bottle rum market was owned almost exclusively by Bacardi," said Mr. Gargano, "but now other brands have gained a foothold."

It's a promising market for the Seagram product since a favorable price differential has rum consumption growing at the expense of whisky.

Seagram of Venezuela executives say that the strategy to win share in Italy involves reaching opinion leaders through non-traditional approaches, so there are no immediate prospects of big-budget ad campaigns in the mass media.

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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