Red Bull is launching an alcoholic drinks product, Sabai – a 5% ABV ready-to-drink wine spritzer. To support the launch, it is sponsoring the UK national tour of Thai female impersonators The Ladyboys of Bangkok.
Sabai, produced by Siam Winery, is a hibiscus-infused wine and mineral water mix, which was trialled in selected UK bars at the end of last year. In Thailand, it claims to sell 90 million bottles a year. It has secured off-trade listings in Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and will be in 600 bars.
Red Bull was originally launched in Thailand, and was brought to the West by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz, who owns 49% of Red Bull Gmbh. The remaining 51% is owned by the Thai family that also owns Siam Winery. Red Bull UK is handling UK distribution for Siam Winery’s brands .
The brand name means “taking it easy” in Thai. Sabai is not being launched under the Red Bull name, and has its own branding reflecting its Thai heritage, according to Stephen Loftus, sales and marketing director for Siam Winery products at Red Bull UK.
Loftus adds that Sabai actually features in The Ladyboys’ routine, during a bar scene. “It’s a perfect fit for us,” he says.
The Ladyboys of Bangkok have been a hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe over the past two years, and are currently beginning a UK tour. In addition to The Ladyboys sponsorship, marketing support will include sampling at the Henley Regatta and Gay Pride London, and point-of-purchase advertising in retailers and bars.