The launch, by First Drinks Brands, extends the Noilly Prat brand into this segment in the UK off-trade for the first time, where it joins Noilly Prat Dry.
“The vermouth market is relatively big but it has been in long-term decline in both value and consumer numbers, so it is a tough market,” said Paul Evans, senior product manager for Noilly Prat at First Drinks Brands. “Noilly Prat, which is a relatively small player, saw the inverse of this last year.”
The veteran brand is seeing a sales increase of 20% year-on-year [ACNielsen, value MAT, December 25, 2004]. Evans believed consumers wanted to trade up to more premium vermouth brands such as Noilly Prat.
“There are no real premium vermouth brands in the Rosso segment, so we saw this as a real opportunity following the success of Dry,” said Evans.
Noilly Prat Red has won a listing with Tesco at an rsp of £6.44 for a 75cl bottle.
Melissa Draycott, Sainsbury’s buyer for fortified wines and spirits, said if the retailer decided to stock the brand it would be up against Martini Rosso and its own-label brand.
The summer launch will be supported by consumer PR and drinks sampling, which will include cocktails such as the Manhattan.