Leblon cachaça hits 50-state market

As cachaça, the Brazilian sugar cane liquor, gradually ramps up its U.S. presence, more consumers are demanding specific brands rather than making a generic request.

Leblon, introduced to the U.S. 16 months ago, has been grabbing an increasing share of the niche market and now is available in all 50 states.

Among other brands available in various U.S. markets are Pitú, Fazenda MÃE de Ouro, Volúpia , Seleta and Maria Izabel.

Leblon's distribution is an impressive benchmark for such a small segment. Steve Kuttmann, founder and CEO of Leblon, claims suc cess because "Leblon spearheaded the way for the cachaça category in the U.S. by first targeting the major metropolitan markets of Miami, New York and Los Angeles. By the end of 2006, as the words cachaça and caipirinha had spread into every major metropolitan area from coast to coast, we set about taking the brand national and have finally achieved our goal."

Leblon is an ultra-premium white cachaça named for its place of origin, Leblon Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The rum-like spirit is made from fresh-pressed Brazilian sugar cane that is then rested in cognac casks and blended.

Cachaça is the main ingredient in the caipirinha, the national drink of Brazil, but works just as well in place of vodka, rum and tequila in other cocktails.

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