Today Diageo claimed a decisive victory in its long-running dispute with InterContinental Brands over the Vodkat brand name.
The warring parties agreed a settlement that involves ICB paying damages and legal costs to the Smirnoff maker and changing the packaging of its lower-abv vodka-themed drink. Oh, and ditching the ‘Vodkat’ name completely from early next year.
Vodkat will remain on sale until 31 January, when an amended version of the brand will hit shelves. But the outcome still sounds like the sort of ‘settlement’ you get when a burly sixth-former politely requests the lunch money of a much smaller boy.
The result comes after Diageo convinced the High Court, and subsequently the Court of Appeal, that the 22% abv Vodkat threatened to confuse punters over whether it was vodka or not.
Defenders of the brand suggest that it’s more commonly stocked alongside RTDs than with premium spirits such as Smirnoff, although this column has seen the reverse happen often enough too.
As such, it’s a murky area – and one that The Grocer will look into closely in this Saturday’s year-ending edition.
Either way, you wonder where the outcome leaves ICB’s stable of what it calls “light spirits”. That includes, among other things, the 22% abv Sambuxo. (See if you can guess what spirit that’s based on.)