Alcoholic Drinks – January 2015 Overview of New Product Launches

This monthly summary highlights the most interesting product launches in January, with a focus on the direction the alcoholic drinks industry is taking in terms of innovative developments.

Spirits+Beer=Speer, Spirits+Cider=Spider?

And so, the list of mutant categories and hybrid concoctions gets ever longer. Cynical commentary aside, and beyond the sometimes cringe worthy wordsmithing skills employed by overexcited marketers, there is little doubt that centuries old category lines are currently testing their questionable elasticity. Definitions are stretched to snapping point.

An already entrenched and rapidly advancing cocktail drinking culture, the radical innovation initiatives undertaken by craft brewers and distillers and the belated -if equally ambitious in scope- dialectic response of the major players are the 3 pillars underpinning radical innovation across the alcohol industry. And as female and millennial demographics are the primary target in the on-going skirmishes between segments, hybrid products might prove a key component of their arsenal.

Cider and perry have historically played that role anyway. On the face of it and boasting enviable total volume CAGR of 6% on a global level over 2008 to 2013 – a feat only matched by a very few other segments – the category hardly looks to be in drastic need of a revamp. But it is.

The reason is simple; Innovation has been the lifeblood of cider and Perry, at the very least ever since Magner’s controversially decided to add ice to the drinking equation back in 2008. From that point onwards, wave upon wave of innovation has consistently expanded the category’s penetration rates in its core markets as much as it has changed its identity, positioning and flavour profile.

From the casual, low quality – even binge drinking – associations of the past, cider has taken bold steps to re-establish itself as an increasingly more sophisticated category while also allowing room for playful indulgence through the road of flavour sophistication. As beer and spirits are fighting over the leadership in the innovation battlefield, cider needs to reclaim its role before its too late. It’s only fitting that Magner’s is at it again. And the choice of spirit- irish whiskey, one of the most buoyant spirits segments – is anything but coincidental.

Magners with Irish Whiskey from C&C Group

Magners has launched its latest innovation onto the UK on-trade – a “spider” combining Magners apple cider with Irish whiskey, adding to the UK’s so-called “spider” category of spirit ciders. The 5.5% beverage contains a 25ml measure of Irish whiskey in each 500ml.