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March 2011

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Vodka to Go

By: Fred Minnick


AN ATTENTION-GETTER ON THE SHELF AND A TOUGH COMPANION FOR THE OUTDOORS, KRÜ 82'S STAINLESS "GO ANYWHERE" BOTTLE HIKES UP SALES . . . BUT INSIDE THERE'S A SURPRISNGLY SMOOTH NEW VODKA

"Oh God, another vodka," Michael Costanzo recalls saying when he was propositioned to carry, well, another vodka late last year.

The owner of 5,000-square-foot New York metropolitan area Buy Wise Liquor Outlet sees hundreds, if not thousands, of new products a year, with vodka manufacturers hustling to become one of his 225 vodkas, representing 20 percent of his liquor sales. Nevertheless, Costanzo took a look at this shiny new brand called KRÜ 82. After all, Kru Spirits was backing the product with a strong marketing campaign that included advertisement buys in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Maxim, USA Today and other high-profile publications.

This along with grassroots sponsorships and product seeding combined to create instant product recognition and consumer demand.

When Costanzo saw KRÜ 82, its tall, shimmering stainless steel container boasting a thick black strap and slender carabiner reminded him of the pricey water bottles found in sports retail. KRÜ 82's stylish, outdoorsy looks appealed to him right away. And the taste hooked him as well. Costanzo took in the Holland-distilled, wheat-based 82-proof vodka and enjoyed the clean, fresh taste.

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