Polish 'bargain' vodka hits U.S.

William M. Dowd photo

In an industry enthralled with premium-priced vodkas, Sobieski is looking to find a niche at the other end of the scale.

The vodka, named for Poland's King Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696), is made from Dankowski rye at a distillery dating to 1846. It will go on scale nationwide this fall at suggested retail prices of $10.99 for a 750ml bottle and $19.99 for a 1.75 liter bottle.

Speaking of the bottle, the fact that this vodka is packaged in a plastic bottle certainly helps with cost containment.

"It's time vodka drinkers knew the truth about vodka," said Chester Brandes, head of Imperial Brands Inc. which is the sole
importer of Sobieski Vodka.

"Consumers are spending between $30 to $60 a bottle for so-called super-premium vodkas. In essence, they are paying for fancy packaging and bloated marketing costs. It's time to get back to basics with an honest, premium vodka at a price that won't make consumers' heads swim."

Sobieski is entering an extremely crowded market. Last year alone, 60 brands of vodka were introduced, according to Adams Beverage Group which tracks industry activity.

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