First Drinks has announced plans to rejuvenate the "forgotten" blended whisky category with a new off-trade marketing push .

The drinks group was upping its marketing investment in Grant's over the next 12 months, using PoS material and media activity to educate consumers about the drink's taste profile, it told The Grocer this week.

The activity would attract loyalty "in a category where people tend to switch brands" and more effectively highlight Grant's suitability as a mixer spirit, it said.

First Drinks will announce details of the campaign in the next few weeks in time for the key Christmas period.

Sales of Grant's have fallen 8% to £45m over the past year and 19% by volume [Nielsen MAT 52w/e 5 October 2009]. The new marketing push would improve sales, predicted brand manager Harriet Knight, admitting that the category had not done enough to attract the retailers' eye. "Retailers have focused on other areas," she said. "Blended whisky has been a workhorse it hasn't had phenomenal growth like the vodka category and doesn't yet have the intricacies of wine. This new strategy is about breaking barriers and working with retailers to help people shop around taste profiles, rather than brands and price."

First Drinks also wanted to add to its Cask Reserve range, first launched in 2001 to premiumise the blended whisky category, she revealed. "Our master blender David Stewart was a step ahead of the game and we're working to get further education [and new products] out there."

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