U.K. drinks firm finds supplier on the net

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BRISTOL -- Bristol-based drinks manufacturer Matthew Clark is launching a new brand based on the Japanese drink sake, which the company claims is growing in popularity in the U.K.

Debuting in the U.K. initially, Jinzu will be considered for export to other markets after six months.

No agency has been appointed to the $1.6 million consumer print ad launch, according to a spokeswoman, though Grey, London, is currently working on the project.

The drink is a mixture of sake, ginger and lemon soda, packaged in an opaque oystercolored bottle and labeled with Chinese script in black and the brand name in English emblazoned in red. It's targeted at 18-to-30-year-olds.

Matthew Clark's supplier of traditional Japanese sake, based near Osaka, was discovered by New Product Development Manager John Cozens surfing the Internet. The sake is imported from Japan and blended at the British marketer's Bristol headquarters.

In addition to the advertising, Jinzu will be promoted in bars with rice-paper game cards offering instant win prizes such as a trip to Tokyo, slimline cameras and fashion sunglasses. "A fun element is the ricepaper game cards, which are edible, so that everyone has a benefit - if you lose, you will be invited to eat your card," says Brands Director Keith McIlwain.

Jinzu is the first of a range of new initiatives Matthew Clark claims is in the pipeline, as the company attempts to reduce its dependence on cider. A traditional drink from the West of England, cider has lost much of its appeal among young drinkers over the years and marketers have invested in new packaging and formulations to regain youth interest.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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