October 16, 2009

(BN) Cointreau's $200 Malandrino Bottle Courts Women With Taste for Exclusive

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Remy Cointreau SA started selling 3,000 bottles of Cointreau liqueur dressed by designer Catherine Malandrino this week, courting wealthy New York women keen to splash their riches on the most exclusive brands.

The 750-milliliter bottles went on sale in the U.S. and at airport stores, costing $200, compared with $44 for a standard bottle of the same size, Justin Weston, managing director of Remy's liqueurs and spirits unit, said in an interview from Paris. French-born Malandrino, known for dressing celebrities from Beyonce to burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, wrapped the bottles in a "wire lacework dress" to help the brand "appeal to an affluent female market," he said.

Remy, France's second-largest liquor company, said today that sales of spirits and liqueurs rose 2.9 percent in the first half, helping offset a 42 percent slump in champagne revenue. The orange-flavored Cointreau is a staple in cocktails including the cosmopolitans made famous by HBO's "Sex And The City," though is mostly viewed as a men's drink, according to Weston.

"The challenge is to take this masculine brand, which my father and grandfather drank, and make it more edgy, more for the cosmo drinkers and girl's night out," Malandrino said from New York yesterday. "It is a recession, but people still want creativity, something that is rare and a collector's item."

The collaboration with Malandrino follows a partnership with Von Teese earlier this year, which matched a new cocktail with the dancer's touring show. Weston says the brand still has ground to gain against larger rivals in the U.S.

"These are tough times for everybody, and this isn't about launching a new bottle for everybody -- it's about getting this brand noticed among a new group of female consumers," Weston said. "It is also making the brand more relevant" to consumers aged 25 to 35, who "embrace cocktail culture," he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Cleary in London at acleary7@bloomberg.net .

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