The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 33 of 128

Vodka's "Noble" Elements BELUGA CEO YEGOR PROSKURYAKOV MUSES ON THE INGREDIENTS, CRAFTSMANSHIP AND MESSAGE REQUIRED TO KEEP A RISING STAR IN ULTRA-PREMIUM LUXURY VODKA ON THE TOP SHELF by Elyse Glickman / photos by Rob Brown W hile there is an abundance of luxury vodka flow- ing freely in bars all over America and the world, reaction to Beluga Noble and Beluga Gold Line inspires continued confidence in CEO Yegor Proskuryakov. Indeed, it is quite fitting that the brand's iconic logo is the hearty and regal beluga sturgeon. Even as it swims upstream, it exudes power and endurance. In spreading his message about Beluga Vodka's distinctive qualities throughout America, Proskuryakov and Beluga have just set up an office in Beverly Hills and are currently devel- oping state-of-the-art marketing tools to familiarize the public with the brand, both on- and off-premise. He has also helped build up an enthusiastic local team to convince seasoned beverage industry veterans that Beluga's vodkas are undis- putedly prize catches for restaurants, bars and consumers demanding a vodka that lives up to luxury expectations. "We are building our distribution very selectively, through luxury accounts and are working to gradually get to the position where Beluga Vodkas will be recognized not only as 'on par' with the current big players, but to become one of them," Proskuryakov details. "We have proven experience in promoting the brand in Russia, and we intend to mostly stick to this strategy in the U.S., too. However, given how fast some brands have come and gone, we devoted time to learn the U.S. market and found there are certain tangible differences in the mentality, traditions and ethics. As we are used to doing things thoroughly and perfectly, we are planning to stay in the U.S. market for good, and are adapting in ways that make sense." Beluga Vodka and The Rodeo Drive cocktail. See the recipe on the next page. While the soaring fish completes the simple-yet-refined packaging tailor-made for prominent display, Proskuryakov adamantly emphasizes the natural elements that make up Beluga Noble and Beluga Gold Line (including hand-selected Russian grain and artesian water from a 250-foot-deep well in the production facility) are treated with the same reverence for the environment they spring from. Though eco-friendly products may be in vogue, he insists caring for the environ- december 201 1 / the tasting panel / 33

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