Vodka Maker's New Product Technically Isn't Vodka

Ketel One Botanical won't have enough alcohol to qualify
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2018 2:27 PM CDT
Vodka Maker's Experiment: Use Less Alcohol

The maker of Ketel One vodka is coming out with a new product that isn't quite vodka. It's more vodka-ish. Parent company Diageo is unveiling Ketel One Botanical, which will have less alcohol and fewer calories than the standard stuff, reports the Wall Street Journal. In fact, at 30% alcohol by volume it won't qualify as vodka, which requires 40% ABV, or even flavored vodka, which requires 37.5%. Instead, the label will read "made with vodka." The idea is to appeal to health-conscious consumers and to cut into sales of Tito's Handmade vodka, which advertises as gluten-free and commands an 8.1% market share, compared to Ketel One's 1.7%, per the Journal. Diageo will emphasize that a shot of the new drink has 73 calories, 25% less than a shot of the regular brand and 40% less than a glass of white wine.

The story and another at Forbes cite surveys showing that many drinkers are looking to reduce calories as well as booze in their cocktails. Diageo's strategy looks to capitalize on the trend, especially among millennials. The new drink is made by distilling regular Ketel One with fruit and herbal essential oils, per Forbes. The marketing pitch suggests drinking it in a wine glass with soda and ice, plus herbs or fruit. "There’s huge growth in vodka soda in America, particularly with women," Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes told investors previously. "A lot of that consumption is moving away from wine and we’ve got a targeted campaign against it." (A 750-milliliter bottle will sell for $24.99, unlike this bottle for $1.3 million that was stolen.)

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