SOURCE: Plant 10 Spirits

May 22, 2006 11:05 ET

EFFEN Vodka Team Leader Special IndyCar to Start 30th in Indianapolis 500

Driver Stephan Gregoire and Team Excited About Grid Position Looking Ahead to Sunday

CHICAGO, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 22, 2006 -- Stephan Gregoire, driver of the # 97 EFFEN Vodka Team Leader Special, qualified 30th for the 90th running of the legendary Indianapolis 500, posting a qualifying lap speed of 217.428 mph on Saturday. Gregoire, a six-time Indy 500 veteran, took a smooth and fast approach to every turn at the 2.5-mile oval in the EFFEN Vodka Team Leader Special, not surprising since EFFEN Vodka's name is Dutch slang for "smooth."

"This is a very special day for me. We have a very responsive car that is fast on the track," said Gregoire on his qualifying spot. "For a team of our size, to qualify is impressive with so many teams with nearly unlimited resources on the grid."

After a week consumed by rain delays and the stresses of getting on the track for practice laps for the first time in four years, Stephan piloted the EFFEN Vodka Team Leader Special to consistent speeds of more than 218 mph on Friday. With a qualifying spot and more than 30 practice laps, Stephan and the team are excited to mix it up on during the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

The lines and styling of the EFFEN Vodka bottle are intentionally clear, streamlined and simple. This is reflected in the livery of the EFFEN Vodka Team Leader Special, which carries the look of the bottle with a sophisticated, monochromatic paint and graphics treatment.

"IndyCar racing is known as the fusion of design and technology, where the fans appreciate a high level of sophistication," said Jon Deitelbaum, president and chief executive officer of Planet 10 Spirits, owner of EFFEN Vodka. "EFFEN Vodka brings the same panache to vodka, and this opportunity allows us to present the brand to a group of savvy race fans who appreciate the functional designs found in IndyCar racing."

When Deitelbaum -- a lifelong race fan -- was approached with the opportunity to be part of the Team Leader Motorsports effort in the 90th edition of the Indy 500, it was clearly an ideal combination of technology and design -- and a perfect match for the EFFEN Vodka brand.

"To be a part of the Kent Baker/Greg Beck team which has fielded 15 Indianapolis 500 appearances between them, and then to bring a competitive driver like Stephan Gregoire on board, makes this an exciting opportunity for EFFEN Vodka," added Deitelbaum. "We knew this would be a competitive year, and to qualify is very exciting."

The Planet 10 Spirits team, comprised of former nightclub marketers and other industry insiders, wanted to build a vodka brand for bartenders. The bottle's shape, size, color and texture were all directed by industry experts. It was bartenders who requested a rubber sleeve, to make the bottle easier to grip and keep the liquid inside colder, longer. At the heart of EFFEN Vodka are premium ingredients from Northern Holland crafted by experienced master distillers to give it a balanced and silky smooth taste.

Since it first appeared on bars in 2003, EFFEN Vodka has enjoyed 100 percent growth every year. Yet even as a relatively small company, EFFEN Vodka is involved in events that are woven into the fabric of popular culture. Beyond the Indianapolis 500, EFFEN Vodka has a presence with the "Everyone Wins at the Oscars®" nominee gift bags, is a sponsor of the Rolling Stones VIP Lounge and Virgin Megastores, and can be seen on the runway and at the after-parties at IMG Fashion Weeks in New York and Los Angeles.

"There are many parallels in our business with the Planet 10 Spirits team. We have an experienced driver in Stephan Gregoire, and an experienced team, including Greg Beck, Co-owner and Director of Racing, who also fields a NASCAR Busch Series team," explained Team Leader Motorsports owner Kent Baker. "Jon has assembled similar expertise in his own organization, which is why we felt this partnership was a good fit and would yield results on the track."

EFFEN Vodka is available at liquor stores and select supermarkets and drug stores in all 50 states, and retails for approximately $27.99 a bottle. To learn more about EFFEN Vodka, visit www.EFFENvodka.com.

For high resolution photography of the EFFEN Vodka Team Leader Special, visit www.EFFENVODKAINDYCARIMAGES.com.

About Barton Brands

Barton Brands, Ltd., a Constellation Brands Company, is a major producer and importer of alcoholic beverages, based in Chicago. Barton Brands is the nation's third-largest distilled spirits company. With strong national and regional price/value brands and premium brands in select growth categories, Barton Brands is an industry leader.

About Planet 10 Spirits

Founded in Chicago in 2002, Planet 10 Spirits created EFFEN Vodka and is the new luxury brand incubator for Barton Brands, Ltd. Planet 10's vision is to be the ultimate catalyst for fun, celebration, socializing and entertainment.

About EFFEN Vodka

Based on a centuries-old Dutch recipe, EFFEN Vodka was fine-tuned with the help of industry insiders to create an ultra-premium spirit in a sleek, functional bottle. The first brand to combine hand-crafted, small-batch vodka with contemporary design aesthetics, EFFEN Vodka proved to be a top-to-bottom revolution in taste and design. EFFEN Vodka features a clean crisp citrus entry with subtle vanilla notes, a distinct sweetness on the palate and a very smooth balanced finish while EFFEN Black Cherry Vodka is the only ultra-premium vodka to combine natural Black Cherry and Vanilla flavors in one presentation. EFFEN Vodka, a Dutch term meaning smooth, is distilled in Holland at significantly lower temperatures than other vodkas. This is what gives EFFEN Vodka its smooth taste without a harsh "bite" on the palate.

Please Enjoy EFFEN Vodka Responsibly. 40% Alc./Vol (80 proof) 100% Neutral Spirits distilled from wheat grain. EFFEN Vodka is imported by Planet 10 Spirits LLC, Chicago, IL.

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