By James Atkinson

Zero sugar products, spiced rum and premium gin will be among the fastest growing spirits categories this year, according to Diageo Australia innovation manager, Joe Spence (pictured).

Spence told TheShout there had been an explosion in zero sugar soft drinks over the last few years, driven most notably by Coke Zero. 

"Over the past 18 months this trend has really started to gather momentum in the spirit premix category, with the likes of Smirnoff, Bundaberg and UDL all experiencing growth with their zero sugar variants," he said.

"The macro trend of health and wellbeing will lead to more innovation in this space, beyond just zero sugar." 

"We’ll see greater scale in lower carb, lower calorie drinks as well as the use of more natural ingredients and smaller format products." 

Spiced rum, gin and whisk(e)y

Regarding spiced rum, Spence said the initial success of Bundaberg Mutiny demonstrated the category’s potential for growth. 

Bundaberg Mutiny

"With packaging and back stories full of magic, adventure and imagination and liquids that are sweet and easy to mix, spiced drinks are a dream combination for drinks innovators, a trend we believe will spread to other categories in 2015," he said.

Spence also backed the continued growth of premium gin and innovative gin premix products, with the multifaceted whisk(e)y category to also continue its ascendancy.

And across the entire spirits category, he expects further emphasis on pairing spirits with food.

"Whether it is Pimm’s for the casual afternoon picnic or barbeque or Talisker as the perfect accompaniment to oysters, we will continue to see powerful emotional and functional ownership of food with spirits in 2015 and beyond," he said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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