June 24, 2009 / 10:41 AM / 10 years ago

Diageo launches new vodka, team with Chinese partner

HONG KONG, June 24 (Reuters) - Diageo Plc (DGE.L), the world’s biggest spirit drinks group, said on Wednesday it had teamed with Chinese white spirit producer Shui Jing Fang to produce a premium vodka in China.

The London-based maker of Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky and Guinness beer globally launched a new vodka, Shanghai White, in Hong Kong with a suggested retail price of HK$470 (US$60) per bottle.

“Shanghai White’s roots are firmly in Asia, a tribute to the vast and centuries-old distilling heritage found in this region,” Kenneth Macpherson, Diageo’s managing director, Greater China, said in a statement. The company gave no details about the venture with the Chinese partner.

Shui Jing Fang is the producer of baijiu, or Chinese distilled white spirit.

European food and drink groups are looking to launch new products and lift their spend on marketing in a bid to drive a recovery in their own sales rather than wait for restocking.

Last September Diageo said it saw China as the most resilient market in Asia despite turmoil on financial markets and would look to expand in the mainland. (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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