A West Midlands tycoon worth £330 million says he has found the answer to every vodka drinker’s dream – in the shape of a hangover-lite variety.
Wolverhampton-based entrepreneur Jonathan Kendrick is aiming to cut out lingering headaches for vodka drinkers with the launch into the UK market of OVAL vodka.
Mr Kendrick, 52, snapped up an Austrian factory in partnership with US billionaire John Paul DeJoria as part of his new ROK Stars venture, which is looking to bring innovative new products to the market.
The tycoon duo previously successfully launched Patron Tequila, which they describe as the “most successful and biggest premium tequila brand in the world,” and have now turned their attention to vodka.
“OVAL is wholly unique in the spirits market in that during its distillation process we bond water molecules to the alcohol molecules naturally, thus reducing the dehydrating effect of consuming alcohol,” said Mr Kendrick.
“When you drink this vodka, you are also drinking water at the same time and that minimises any hangover. It does not necessarily prevent a hangover, but it delays it.
“It is the only vodka in the world you can drink neat without shuddering; there are no harsh effects.
“Our slogan is enjoy more, hurt less. It was originally developed by Russian scientists but it wasn’t marketed properly.
“We discovered the company in Austria which had gone out of business – we bought 51 per cent of it and re-opened the factory and we have already sold the entire first year’s production, about 800,000 bottles.
“This is a premium vodka, which is aimed at the very high end of the market.”
Mr Kendrick said his ROK Stars company was also interested in exploring the potential for hangover-lite whisky or gin. “The vodka has got a long way to go first,” he said.
Business partner Mr DeJoria founded mobile phone technology group ROK Global around eight years ago and developed the company into a global empire, with products available worldwide.
The duo say ROK Stars will “identify, develop and market highly-innovative ‘game-changing’ consumer products globally.”
In addition to OVAL Vodka and a new energy drink, ROK Natural Energy, ROK Stars says it is close to an announcement on details of a “unique and patented packaging solution for premium bottled mineral water – ROK Water – scheduled for launch in early 2012.”
Mr DeJoria said: “All three of our initial ROK Stars launch products have the potential to do what Patron has done to the tequila market and what Paul Mitchell has done to the hair care market; to become billion-dollar brands.”
Jonathan Kendrick was 23rd in the 2011 Birmingham Post Rich List, valued at an estimated £330 million.
The Rich List said of him: “The ROK website describes its chairman, Jonathan Kendrick, as a highly successful serial entrepreneur.
“That’s not a bad description for a man who made a mobile phone entertainment business run from a modest office near Wolverhampton into a multi-million pound moneyspinner.
“ROK Global, based in Albrighton, has become one of the world’s leading companies in mobile telephone entertainment software, allowing its customers to watch TV programmes, films and music videos on their mobile phones.”