GBL International is adding a full strength upmarket vodka to its successful VK Vodka Kick premium packaged spirit (PPS) range to give it extra credibility. While the rest of the industry has developed PPS brands from established well known spirits such as Bacardi, Smirnoff and Archer's, Steve Perez, managing director of GBL, plans to do the reverse. He said: "Vodka Kick sells six million cases in the UK and has done particularly well in the on-trade and is listed in Safeway, but we felt we needed to raise its profile by adding a premium spirit to the range." GBL has taken a year to develop the product and create a striking pack for it. The vodka has produced by a Swedish distillery. It is now going before the major buyers and already has some listings in the on-trade. But Perez has had an uphill struggle with the major multiples. "With the exception of Safeway we have found it difficult even to get an appointment, despite the on-trade success of the brand." In 2002 the VK range will benefit from a £10m advertising and promotions budget which is up by 25% on this year. VK Pure Vodka has 40% abv and will retail at £14.99. {{DRINKS }}