Vodkat was neutered this week after owner ICB agreed to change the name and packaging of the brand following a high-court clash with rival supplier Diageo.

Wrapping up the two-year legal saga in time for Christmas makes for a neat ending, but the settlement and earlier court ruling could have long-term ramifications.

They have given vodka protected status similar to that of whisky or Champagne, while previously this was only given to products with a perceived "specialness" or cachet.

The mistake made by the 22% abv Vodkat was to have a look and name that, in the view of the court, could confuse customers. And brands across the "lighter spirits" category should pay close attention.

Any confusion about what a product is could land the producer in hot water. But, in a market where duty spirals ever upwards and people keep closer watch on their alcohol intake, shouting about being different may be no bad thing.

And one word of advice to ICB: when you rebrand Vodkat, avoid anything along the lines of Smirnot.

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