Tanqueray introduces pricier sibling

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Schieffelin & Somerset Co. rolls out its most expensive gin ever with new Tanqueray No. Ten, as the marketer tries to capitalize on the boom in pricey spirits as well as lift the lackluster gin category.

No. Ten is Tanqueray's second extension in two years, following the launch of spicy Malacca in '98. At about $32 for a 1-liter bottle, No. Ten is 60% more expensive than its sister Tanqueray brands. It's made from fresh botanicals such as juniper, rather than aged ones used in the flagship Tanqueray London Dry gin.


"What we found was that this was a natural place for Tanqueray to compete. There's been an explosion of superpremium subsegments of the white spirits category," said Leah Russell, VP-group director for Tanqueray at Schieffelin. "It really made sense for us to provide an opportunity for these consumers" who drink superpremium white spirits.

Ms. Russell said the thriving economy is one reason consumers are trading up, and Frank Walters, research director for industry publication Impact, agreed.

"People have the money, and the economy is doing well, so there's always room for a niche product like that," he said.

Tanqueray No. Ten is entering Florida and New York this month. It will be available nationally by the end of April. A 750-milliliter bottle will go for about $25, compared with about $15 for other Tanqueray gins (AA, Feb. 7).

National advertising from J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, hits in May issues of Black Enterprise, Detour, Esquire, GQ and Playboy. Tanqueray is targeting men and women ages 25 to 39.

"But it's not about age," Ms. Russell said. "It's about people who are setting trends."


The U.S. is the first market to get the superpremium British import, and depending on its success here, Schieffelin may expand it to the homeland and globally, Ms. Russell said. She projected No. Ten would sell 60,000 cases by yearend -- compared with 1.3 million for London Dry and about 45,000 cases for Malacca.

Tanqueray is the U.S.' leading imported gin. Imports constitute about 20% of gin consumed in the U.S., with about half of those imports bearing the Tanqueray label, according to Impact.

The brand has been a standout performer in a category that has suffered stagnant or declining sales since the mid-1970s, with volume plummeting by 50% during that period. Overall case volume for gin was flat at 10.5 million in 1998, according to Impact, while Tanqueray grew almost 3%, with imports overall faring about as well with a 4% increase. Domestic gins offset that growth with a 4% drop.

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