9. SVEDKA Vodka

SVEDKA Vodka (A)

As he waited for his wife to meet him, Guillaume Cuvelier sat in a downtown Manhattan restaurant sipping vodka straight up. As founder and managing director of Spirits Marque One, a liquor importer, Cuvelier wondered if patrons of such an upscale bar would soon be ordering his new vodka by its name: SVEDKA. It was mid-1998, and the product was set to launch in just a few months. Scanning the bar for the competition’s vodka bottles, Cuvelier ran through the marketing campaign in his head.1

The U.S. government defined vodka as a neutral spirit “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” As one food and beverage writer explained, “Good vodka is considered to be one without the harsh, rubbing-alcohol ...

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