Ketel One, Grey Goose, Vox and Belvedere: You're fired. Trump Vodka, you're hired.
At least that's what Donald Trump is hoping for with his foray into the liquor business. He recently launched Trump Vodka in October 2006, and it's taking off. "We expect to sell at least 100,000 cases this year," says J. Patrick Kenny, CEO of Drinks Americas (DKAM), the company that distributes the vodka.
According to Kenny, the answer is a resounding yes. Drinks Americas, which was founded in 2002, owns, develops, markets and distributes beverages associated with several big names. Some of its other lines include Willie Nelson's Old Whisky River Bourbon and Paul Newman's Own Lightly Sparkling Fruit Juice Drinks.
"The company is partnered with Trump on all beverages [alcoholic and non-alcoholic]," says Kenny. Next beverage on Trump's list: A nonalcoholic iced tea, aimed to launch in the summer.
"It's all about public relations," says Kenny; by having Trump's name on a premium-quality vodka, you have a media windfall of about $300 million. The vodka has been featured in Business Week, The New York Post and on television shows including E!'s E News and NBC's Extra, and even on Paris Hilton's blog.Trump himself has made media appearances on David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Larry King. At the same time, the company is not forgetting about print media, advertising in high-end publications Hamptons Magazine, Gotham Magazine, Maxim and Cigar Aficionado.
One of the vodka's launch parties was held at trendy L.A. nightclub Les Deux in January, and it drew its share of celebrities, including Brittny Gastineau, Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton. Celebrities attract paparazzi, and this in turn attracts more press. Last year's launch party at Trump Towers was also a who's-who event, featuring music by popular hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes.