April 15, 2004 15 April 2004 Canada first to launch ABSOLUT CUT

Absolut Cut PR: April 14th marks the global launch for ABSOLUT CUT - a Swedish spirit tonic available initially in Canada. ABSOLUT CUT, the result of a new partnership between V&S Group and Interbrew, brings a new level of sophistication and quality to the pre-mix beverage category.

“The market for pre-mixed drinks has developed at a rapid pace in the last few years and, with consumer preferences evolving, there is an opportunity for a more sophisticated product. We see ABSOLUT CUT as the next generation of pre-mixed drinks, ready to change the segment in the same way as ABSOLUT VODKA did to the vodka segment in 1979,” says Bengt Baron, president at V&S Absolut Spirits, the business area within V&S Group responsible for ABSOLUT. Read more inside article.ABSOLUT CUT, a Swedish spirit tonic, has a fresh sparkling citrus taste that combines lime, orange and mandarin. It has just a slight hint of sweetness and a short, clean aftertaste. This unique pre-mix blends sparkling water and natural flavours with ABSOLUT VODKA from hus, Sweden.

ABSOLUT CUT has been developed by V&S, who owns the trademark and recipe. Labatt Breweries of Canada, an Interbrew subsidiary, will oversee all production and distribution of ABSOLUT CUT locally. Maxxium Worldwide has successfully distributed ABSOLUT VODKA in Canada and other international markets since 2001 and will continue to do so.

“V&S has, through extensive brand building expertise, created one of the world’s greatest trademarks in ABSOLUT. This, together with Labatt’s unprecedented route to market, gives ABSOLUT CUT a solid foundation for success in Canada,” says Labatt president Stewart Gilliland. “This launch is consistent with Labatt and Interbrew’s strategy to forge partnerships that enable us to offer customers and consumers the preferred adult beverage for all relevant consumption occasions.”

There are a few universal truths that you can rely on when dealing with an ABSOLUT product: the vodka is always produced in hus, Sweden, the flavours are always all-natural, and every new ABSOLUT product will challenge the conventions of the segment to which it is introduced.

As with all members of the ABSOLUT family, the name and bottle design of each new product communicates its personality. The ABSOLUT CUT bottle shares its iconic shoulder and neck shape with ABSOLUT VODKA. The crystal clear glass and liquid, combined with the silkscreen print on the bottle, further reinforce the connection to ABSOLUT VODKA while the addition of embossed cuts give it a unique, sophisticated edge. The name ABSOLUT CUT implies that the vodka has been mixed, or cut, and that this product is a cut above the rest.

ABSOLUT CUT is initially being launched in Canada and will be available in selected markets within Canada in late April, with full, nationwide distribution by May 2004. Premium priced, it will be introduced in sleek open-basket four-packs.

The launch event in Toronto invites guests to experience an old distillery transformed by sound and light into a “universe of sophistication.”

About V&S Group
V&S Group is a Swedish-owned corporation with extensive international operations. The V&S product portfolio includes both own brands for local, regional and international sales, as well as agency products. The Group has operations in 12 countries and worldwide distribution in about 125 markets. The most important brand is ABSOLUT, the third largest international spirit in the world. The Group has approximately 2,200 employees and sales in 2003 amounted to SEK 9.3 billion.

About Labatt
Labatt is one of Canada’s longest-established and most successful companies. A proud brewer of quality beers, Labatt employs 3,800 Canadians and operates eight breweries from coast to coast. Labatt is part of Interbrew, whose origins date back to 1366 and who today represents one of the leading global brewers.

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