Vita Citric

Vita Citric, is triple-distilled with lemon peel and Mediterranean citrus fruits

Spanish spirits brand Vita is eyeing UK expansion, kicking off a £130k crowdfunding drive for what it claims is the first vodka designed specifically to be mixed with water rather than tonic or other mixers.

Vita is offering 9.68% of its equity through Crowdcube, valuing the business at £1.28m. At the time of writing, it had raised more than £59k from 123 investors.

Funds will go towards securing UK retail distribution, developing new flavours and “brand building through marketing and trade fairs”. The push will run until the end of February.

The brand’s flagship spirit, Vita Citric, is triple-distilled with lemon peel and Mediterranean citrus fruits, the flavours of which Vita claims are released when it is mixed with still or carbonated water. A strawberry flavour is also in the pipeline.

It was hard to find alcoholic drinks that were “low in calories and low in sugars” said Vita founder Victor Ruiz Lafita. “Of course, you can drink a rum with a zero sugar soft drink, but that contains artificial stuff people are getting more concerned about.”

Vita this month won UK distribution with Drinks21 and Ooberstock, and is in talks with Selfridges.

It has enlisted former Bacardi and Moët Hennessy CMO Michel Recalt, former Goldman Sachs banker Fadrique Balmaseda and former export manager for Marqués de Riscal winery Javier Ybañez as advisors, which Lafita said brought “strong ­connections with many of the world’s largest alcohol distributors”. Its UK launch will be backed by a social media push on Facebook and Instagram. Lafita said he was also eager to kick off on and off-trade sampling activity.

“We believe that many people won’t continue to drink in the traditional way and that Vita is ahead of the game,” he said. “We’ve had a great reaction in Spain, but as vodka consumption is 15 times higher in the UK, and the British are keen to look after their health, we’re very excited to launch here.”

Retail value sales of vodka overtook those of blended whisky last year, winning it the title of Britain’s favourite spirit thanks to the influence of cocktail culture and its perception as a less-calorific, trendier drink.