Virgin caffeine drink aims to challenge Red Bull

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The Independent Online

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is to attempt a fresh assault on the drinks market, with a new range of "energising" drinks.

Following the success of Red Bull, the fizzy soft drink with a heavy caffeine kick, Virgin will this summer launch a brand of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that have a stimulating effect. A £4m advertising campaign will start in May.

The soft drink will be called "Virgin dt" (day time) while its alcoholic cousin, which will contain one and a half shots of vodka, will be called "Virgin nt" (night time). The company said the drinks' stimulating properties would come from a blend of caffeine, taurine, vitamins and ginseng.

Red Bull has taken on cult status among consumers in their late teens to thirties, as an instant energy-enhancer for tired professionals. Virgin hopes to target this market - the fastest growing in the drinks sector - especially the 18-24 age group.

The pre-mixed spirits market in Britain grew 70 per cent last year to £380m.