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Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz Vodka To Enter U.S. Market

August 22, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz vodka producer Arvin says it will<br>begin exporting one of its brands to the United States in September,<br>RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Arvin Director-General Beishenbek Oskonbaev told a news conference in Bishkek today that its "Shpilka"-label vodka ("stiletto heel" in Russian) is already being exported to Europe.

"Our products have participated in exhibitions abroad and received medals for their quality," Oskonbaev said. "In an exhibition in Brussels, Europeans came and tasted it. Then they came to sign a contract to buy our products. Our vodkas 'Shpilka' and 'VIP' have received medals at the United Vodka festival. All the [customer companies] want the vodka ['Shpilka']."

The managing director of U.S. spirits importer Stiletto Brands, Ray Edwards, said the first supply will cover the states of Louisiana, Florida, Missouri, and Oregon.

He also said marketing efforts will target women, who he said represent almost 52 percent of vodka drinkers in the United States.

"The decision to bring 'Shpilka' to the United States was because the design of the bottle was very beautiful -- it was very feminine," Edwards said. "And the quality of the vodkas which we tried -- which are also Arvin products -- were such high quality that we felt very strongly that we could effectively target this demographic."

Edwards suggested that a strategy of marketing to "capture the hearts and minds of women in America" eventually attracts male customers.

(with material from 24.kg)
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