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Fortune Brands Inc. (FBI)


Thursday 16 January, 2003

Fortune Brands Inc.

Fortune Brands New Product Alert

Fortune Brands New Product Alert
 Cobra Introduces New King Cobra SS-i Iron Line with Even Larger Sweetspot 

    LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 16, 2003--

    Fastest Growing Golf Club Brand Also Expands Driver Line with
               Revolutionary New Plasma Welding Process

    The golf products business of consumer products company Fortune
Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO) today introduced the new King Cobra SS-i iron
line and the new King Cobra SS 380 model driver. These innovative new
golf clubs build on strong momentum for the Cobra brand, which doubled
its sales and market share in 2002 and became the fastest-growing club
brand in the marketplace. Complete details on these new products are
available at

    The new King Cobra SS-i irons deliver a variety of key
enhancements to the original King Cobra SS design. The King Cobra SS-i
iron line features an even larger `Sweet Spot,' softer feel and custom
fitting options as the relevant points of difference versus
competitive products in the game improvement category, while
strengthening the performance goals of longer distance and greater

    The addition of a urethane insert to the backs of the new King
Cobra SS-i irons helps absorb the vibration associated with thin-face,
large cavity irons. The insert, in combination with a softer 431-alloy
construction versus 17-4 steel, and slightly stronger lofts promotes
longer distance and softer feel. The softer alloy also allows custom
fit lie options. A cavity 'muscle arch' provides enhanced perimeter
weighting for a larger sweet spot and greater forgiveness. A slightly
wider sole generates a lower center of gravity, while a longer blade
length and oversized cavity back promotes an even larger sweet spot
and greater confidence at address. The new irons retain the original
skid sole design that promotes solid contact and helps prevent thin
and fat shots for greater forgiveness.

    'We implemented a deep undercut on the King Cobra SS-i irons to
thin out the oversized face and create an expanded, hotter sweet
spot,' commented Jeff Harmet, General Manager, Cobra, describing the
new, next generation design. 'The muscle arch pushes more weight to
the perimeter which also expands the sweet spot and creates more
distance and greater accuracy. The urethane insert provides for better
feel at impact.'

    The new King Cobra SS-i irons will begin shipping on February 1,
2003 with a suggested retail price of $559 for Men's Steel, and $684
for Men's, Senior and Womens' Graphite per set of eight clubs.

    New SS 380 Driver Uses New Plasma Welding Process

    The new King Cobra SS 380 model driver joins the popular 427 and
350 head sizes to provide a wide range of golfers three quality
options to fit their particular games. Inspired by the original King
Cobra metal wood franchise, the King Cobra SS family offers cutting
edge oversized titanium technology whose priorities in a driver are
distance, accuracy and consistency.

    'The SS signifies `Sweet Spot', and the King Cobra SS drivers
feature one of the largest and `hottest' of any conforming drivers in
the industry,' said Harmet. 'Golfers of all skill levels are enjoying
overwhelming success with the King Cobra SS 427 and 350 drivers since
their introductions over the past year, because they are easier and
more enjoyable to hit. The King Cobra SS 380 is our first driver to
utilize our revolutionary plasma welding process, and will attract an
even larger population of golfers who will benefit from its unique
design, construction and performance attributes.' In addition, Cobra
today introduced the new King Cobra SS 350 Tour driver - designed for
the lower handicap golfer - also featuring plasma weld technology.

    The new King Cobra SS 380 features a thin 15-3-3-3 Beta Titanium
insert that is more cleanly and uniformly bonded to the driver face by
this new plasma welding process, providing the golfer more consistency
no matter where the golf ball is struck on the club face. Plasma
welding utilizes a 'plasma arc' or electric current to fuse the insert
to the outer body. In conventional tig welding, metal is added to
provide the bond creating inconsistency and adding weight. The 'hot',
fused beta titanium insert is surrounded by an even thinner titanium
ring to generate the maximum allowable energy transfer and higher
coefficient of restitution (C.O.R.) value across a larger effective
hitting area. The result is more distance, greater forgiveness and a
sweet, solid feel and sound. An internal low and back heel weight pad
is positioned directly in line with the hosel axis to promote a
higher, more consistent trajectory, and forgiveness on off-center hits
due to its lower center of gravity.

    The new King Cobra SS 380 and King Cobra SS 350 Tour drivers start
shipping nationwide on February 1, 2003, with a suggested retail price
of $369.

    To support the King Cobra iron and woods lines, more than 2,500
Demo Days have been scheduled and nearly 500 authorized Cobra custom
fitting accounts are being established for 2003. Cobra also has
embarked on an initiative of securing 500 assistant club professionals
who play the product to become ambassadors for the brand both in their
shops and in competition.

    Fortune Brands, Inc. is a consumer products company with annual
sales exceeding $5.5 billion. Its operating companies have premier
brands and leading market positions in home and hardware products,
spirits and wine, golf equipment and office products. Home and
hardware brands include Moen faucets, Aristokraft, Schrock and Omega
cabinets, Master Lock padlocks and Waterloo tool storage sold by units
of MasterBrand Industries, Inc. Major spirits and wine brands sold by
units of Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. include Jim Beam and Knob
Creek bourbons, DeKuyper cordials, The Dalmore single malt Scotch, Vox
vodka and Geyser Peak and Canyon Road wines. Acushnet Company's golf
brands include Titleist, Cobra and FootJoy. Office brands include
Day-Timer, Swingline, Kensington and Wilson Jones sold by units of
ACCO World Corporation. Fortune Brands, headquartered in Lincolnshire,
Illinois, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker
symbol FO and is included in the S&P 500 Index.

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   Short Name: Fortune Brands Inc.
   Category Code: MSC
   Sequence Number: 00001619
   Time of Receipt (offset from UTC): 20030116T153714+0000


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