Tribute vodka launch teams rock legends with Latvian distillery

Latvian spirits maker Latvijas balzams, part of the SPI distilling group, will produce an anniversary-edition vodka brand dedicated to the memory of rock group Queen’s lead singer and songwriter Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May announced Monday.

The Killer Queen trademark will honor the 40th anniversary since the band released its milestone single with the same title, reported music news source NME and spirits industry portal thedrinksbusiness.com.

He said: "Freddie loved vodka and used to carry a dry ice cooler full of vodka with him on tour. Killer Queen Vodka is the perfect tribute."

Brian revealed he had recently visited the Stoli production plant in Riga, Latvia, and described it as "the Willy Wonka chocolate factory for adults".

The limited-edition bottle of vodka is 40% proof and described as "well versed in etiquette" and "seven times distilled using an ancient original vodka filtration process of quartz sand and birch charcoal with a unique filtration process at the final stage."

It's reported to be hitting markets Wednesday. Newspaper Diena published a gallery of the first-run bottles from the plant.

As business portal Nozare.lv learned from company commercial director Valters Kaže, the client is British firm RnR Brew, which holds a licence from Queen's business management. The total order will run to 100,000 bottles, and will only be sold in Great Britain. Later it is planned to be offered to other European markets and North America.

"Thhis is one of the most ambitious and complicated projects in our company's history," said Kaže.

At the same time it is a great honor and distinction for our product reputation, as it raises our brand to new level of 'affinity branding', where many stakeholders take part in a new trademark that adds value, high content and unique design."

This is a segment of the distilled beverages market that the company has long-standing experience in, he added. About 8% of Norway's vodka brands are produced in Latvia as private trademarks. Other such projects get distributed as private labels in other world markets, among the leading destinations being Great Britain, Norway and Rumania.

Latvijas balzams is 89.53% held by SPI Regional Business Unit BV.

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