Thursday, February 26, 2004

Malibu® Launches Two New Exotic Fruit Flavors

"Seriously Easy Going" Rum Brings the Caribbean Closer to Consumers with MALIBU Pineapple and MALIBU Mango

Westport, Conn., (February 26, 2004) – Allied Domecq Spirits, North America (NYSE:AED), a marketing-led brands business, and MALIBU® Caribbean flavored rum, announce the national arrival of two new exotic fruit flavors – Pineapple and Mango. In addition to the existing MALIBU Coconut Rum Flavor, these two new flavors join the MALIBU trademark as MALIBU Caribbean Rum with Natural Pineapple Flavor and MALIBU Caribbean Rum with Natural Mango Flavor.

Rum was responsible for 26 percent of the volume growth for all spirits in the past year, with flavored rums fueling 40 percent of sales growth in the rum category. MALIBU Coconut is the number-one flavored rum in the U.S., outpacing the category at a 10 percent growth rate in the past 52 weeks ending January 17, 2004. (Source: AC Nielson.) Building on the global success of MALIBU Coconut, Allied Domecq is tempting taste buds with Mango - one of the fastest growing flavors in the U.S. and one of the most popular fruit flavors in the world, and Pineapple - a mainstream flavor that has been a hit for decades.

“Market demand and research indicates that today’s consumers want more flavor variety in their spirits – just look at the flavor explosion among vodkas like Stolichnaya,” said Rennie Solomito, Vice President of Marketing, White Spirits, Allied Domecq Spirits, North America. “It is only natural that MALIBU, the ‘flavored rum originator,’ brings consumers two of the world’s most popular flavor varieties with pineapple and mango. They are natural choices for extending the world-famous MALIBU trademark.”

MALIBU Pineapple and MALIBU Mango are backed by extensive consumer research and taste tests commissioned by Allied Domecq. According to this research, the new flavor of rums scored in the top 20th percentile in terms of uniqueness. MALIBU Pineapple has a light tropical taste with a genuine pineapple flavor. It has an easy-going pineapple aroma that scored overwhelmingly positive with consumers. More than three-quarters of consumers said that they intended to purchase MALIBU Pineapple after trying it. MALIBU Mango features one of the world’s most popular flavors, with a sweet and juicy taste that perfectly compliments its Caribbean rum. Consumers who drink both rum and vodka scored it very high and indicated that they would “definitely” intend to purchase. (Source - Ipsos Vantis Product Test November 2003.)

"Once we develop a new product, like MALIBU Mango or MALIBU Pineapple, it is critical that we appropriately and creatively brand it," said Ilene Grimes, Brand Manager, MALIBU flavored rum at Allied Domecq Spirits, North America. "In doing so, we conducted extensive research on how to uphold the significant brand recognition of MALIBU, yet call out our new and distinctly different product offerings."

Research showed that 91 percent of consumers recognized the white MALIBU bottle within 1/25th of a second. “Preserving this recognition, while introducing two completely different MALIBU products, was a true challenge. The result – the bottle shape remains the same, as does the logo. Yet, the MALIBU Mango and MALIBU Pineapple bottles themselves are vibrant and colorfully translucent, allowing consumers to view the clear rum inside while creating a link between the packaging and the light, exotic fruit flavor of the product,” commented Grimes.

The new rum flavors will be marketed under the successful “Seriously Easy Going” marketing platform, which features international reggae star Shaggy, delivering the “seriously easy going” message across all mediums worldwide. "With television and radio advertising, on- and off-premise merchandising, sampling and promotions, our goal is to recruit new legal-drinking-age consumers to enjoy MALIBU cocktails," commented Grimes. "Along with the Coconut-flavored original, MALIBU Mango and MALIBU Pineapple are two great new choices to kick-start a fun evening for ‘seriously easy-going’ good times."

MALIBU Pineapple and MALIBU Mango will be available nationwide on- and off-premise beginning May 2004. Suggested retail pricing for MALIBU Pineapple and MALIBU Mango is consistent with MALIBU Coconut at $13.99 (750ml) and $16.99 (1 L). Highly mixable, MALIBU Pineapple and MALIBU Mango are best when served with lemon-lime soda.

Allied Domecq Spirits, North America is delivering new and innovative products (MALIBU flavors, WET by Beefeater® and Kuya® fusion rum) that increase consumer demand, working to establish competitive prices and identifying opportunities with distributors and retailers, all in line with the vision of becoming the First Choice Supplier.

MALIBU is the delicious Caribbean fine light rum, now with three distinct flavors - coconut, pineapple and mango - that brings to life the seriously easy attitude of the islands. Like all rums, sugar cane is the basis for MALIBU. After distillation, a portion of the rum is aged in oak barrels for one to two years, and then blended with coconut, pineapple or mango and sugar to create the unique taste of MALIBU. MALIBU is a versatile, mixable spirit. Try it with cola or with fruit juice for a smooth delicious taste.

MALIBU Rum with natural coconut/pineapple/mango flavor, 21% alc./vol., Allied Domecq Spirits, USA Westport, CT. MALIBU is imported and marketed by Allied Domecq Spirits North America, based in Westport, CT. Suggested retail value is $13.99 for 750ml. Allied Domecq reminds consumers to "Take It Easy. Drink in Moderation."

About Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine North America
Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine North America is a division of Allied Domecq PLC. Allied Domecq is a marketing-driven brands business that operates globally in spirits and wine and quick service restaurants. Powerful and exciting brands drive profitable growth and strong, consistent cash flows. Leading North American brands include Kahlúa®, Stolichnaya® Vodkas, Sauza® Tequilas, Beefeater®, MALIBU® flavored rum, Canadian Club®, Courvoisier®, Maker’s Mark®, Kuya® fusion rum, WET by Beefeater®, Midori®, Hiram Walker® Liqueurs, Buena Vista®, William Hill® Wines, Clos Du Bois®, Brancott®, Atlas Peak®, Champagne Perrier Jouët®, Champagne Mumm®, Dunkin Donuts®, Baskin Robbins® and Togo’s® restaurants. Enjoy Allied Domecq’s brands responsibly and in moderation.

Allied Domecq, North America’s vision is to be the “First Choice Supplier” in the hearts and minds of its customers, consumers and employees.

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Brandy Toth
Allied Domecq Spirits

Sara Shannon
Qorvis Communications