Exclusive Beverage Brands has increased the stakes in the premium packaged spirits market with a new variant for WKD and a 40% increase in the marketing budget for the brand. The Devon based company is bringing out Original Vodka Blue to partner its successful vodka iron brew and is planning a £9m push behind the two drinks this year, including TV advertising. Up for grabs is a slice of the fastest growing sector in the drinks market. Premium packaged spirits only have a 2.3% value share, but ACNielsen put the rate of growth last year at 67%. Last year WKD Original was worth £120m and was selling 1.5 million bottles a week. Blue was introduced to the trade this week and one of its key roles will be to attract consumers in the south of England to the brand. The iron brew version has found it difficult to penetrate this part of the country. The support package behind the brand features a £2m budget for TV ads which are scheduled for March on C4, C5, satellite, E4, Bravo, MTV and Rapture. Beverage Brands has also doubled the 48 sheet poster activity behind the brand and there will be six national bursts this year. The poster ads feature laddish toilet humour which was brought to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority last year, although it saw no reason to object. Marketing manager Karen Salters promised more of the same this year. "It is very edgy and we have had some complaints but that is good, but we don't want to push it over the edge," she said. The brand will also be supported by a range of activity including sponsorship of UK ice hockey teams' sin bins, student based events, the backing of a national amateur five a side soccer competition, a consumer competition offering a branded camper van for touring this year's key music festivals and a competition in the Sun and Star newspapers. Salters said: "This is a big step for us but the time is right. The spring reviews are about to take place and we have increased personnel to cope with the extra work." {{DRINKS }}