The battle for domination of the increasingly competitive premium packaged spirit (PPS) market is set to intensify with the launch of a new WKD variety.
Drinks manufacturer Beverage Brands has unleashed WKD Original Vodka Blue in an attempt to build-on the success of the company's flagship brand, WKD Iron Brew.
Since its arrival in 1995, WKD Iron Brew has become one of Britain's fastest-selling PPS in a market worth more than £373million in the on-trade.
However, much of WKD Iron Brew's success has been regional, having gained a strong presence in the North-West. Karen Salters, marketing manager at Beverage Brands, said: "Iron Brew has long been associated with Scotland and WKD Iron brew has enjoyed more success in the North than in the South.
"WKD Blue will not only win new customers for the brand in the more style-conscious clubs in the South of England but our research shows consumers who come to the brand via blue are more likely to try WKD Vodka Iron Brew."
Beverage Brands is hoping that a £9million campaign, including unprecedented TV exposure, will help WKD challenge the duopoly enjoyed by Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice.
The arrival of WKD Blue, a fruit-flavoured vodka mix with a 5.5 per cent ABV, will also step up the intense competition for limited fridge space and fuel speculation that a number of smaller brands will fall by the wayside.
Bacardi-Martini recently denied rumours that it was planning to withdraw its Martini V2 and Bacardi Rigo brands from the market.
A spokesperson for the company said: "We do not know where these rumours have come from, but they're wide of the mark. We have no plans to withdraw these brands as they have a number of major accounts and are doing very extremely well."