Let the battle of the bubbly (vodkas) begin

William Dowd photo

Ah, bubbly vodka. The folks who got there first are not exactly welcoming any competition.

Phillip Maitland, president of International English Distillers Ltd., which introduced 02 brand sparkling vodka to the U.S. market in January, has taken the offensive against hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre and his plans to release a sparkling vodka drink ('Rap star gets the spirit') in a joint venture with Drinks America.

"I am very complimented that Dr. Dre has recognized how innovative and special our sparkling vodka is, and is trying to copy it," Maitland said. "My concern is that it isn't produced by our patented method and may well turn out to be a very poor imitation. I hope that consumers will not be swayed by the celebrity endorsement of a copycat product by Dr. Dre.

"There are a lot of mixed messages going on," he added. "Dre's unreleased album (which will go on sale at the same time as the drink) is even called 'Detox,' to add a bitterly ironic twist."

No word yet on Dre's response to Maitland, but rest assured one will be coming.
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