By Andy Young

Diageo Australia has unveiled a new range of premix products aimed at the growing health, wellbeing and moderate drinking trends.

The new range includes products from Bundaberg Rum, Gordon’s, Smirnoff and Pimm’s and will be supported by a $20m marketing campaign. The range has been developed from deep consumer insights and category planning and represents the biggest investment Diageo has made in premix for more than 10 years.  

Speaking about the launch of the new RTDs Diageo Australia’s managing director David Smith said that when he first started in the role, just over one year ago, he was disappointed with the RTD market in the country and that it was dominated by Cola drinks and black packaging. But he soon realised this was something that the company was already looking at.

“While I was disappointed, the good news was that the guys here were already on it," sasid Smith. "The guys were thinking about ‘what can we do’. The even better news is that is not just because we need to do something, which we do, it’s because the consumer is changing and the way the consumer is changing is creating a big opportunity for RTD to grow again. 

“That is what you see with these new products we are launching. You see the first wave of a Diageo response into the fact that this is going to be a growing category over the next eight years, not a declining category and we are incredibly excited about that. We are not the only ones because RTD makes retailers and the trade some great margin. 

“We really believe that we have got something here that can start to turnaround the category and start the category growing again, based on deep consumer insights. On top of that each of the new products, all come from wonderfully established brands that the consumers know, that have got a lots of affinity and love in this market place, we don’t need to position the brands, which is great.”

The new range of products includes:

  • Bundaberg Lazy Bear – a mid-strength (3.5 per cent ABV) drink containing Bundaberg Rum, dry ginger ale and natural lime, which is recommended to be sold chilled and with a slice of line. The 330ml bottle come in six-packs with a $21.99 RRP
  • Smirnoff Pure – Diageo’s first premix to combine vodka and natural ingredients, with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The Smirnoff Pure range has Cranberry, Apple and Soda; Ginger, Lime and Soda; Passionfruit, Lime and Soda; Classic Lime and Soda. The 4.5 per cent ABV range comes in 300ml bottles with a $17.99 RRP for a four-pack.
  • Gordon’s Elderflower Spritz – A 4.0 per cent ABV Gordon’s Gin infused with natural elderflower flavour and soda, which comes in four-packs of 330ml bottles with a $19.99 RRP.
  • Pimm’s Sparkling Cup – this is designed to be the perfect Pimm’s jug serve, coming in a 750ml bottle with a $14.99 RRP. The 5.5 per cent ABV bottle is a mix of Pimm’s lemonade, ginger ale and natural fruit flavours.
  • Pimm’s Lemonade & Ginger Ale – a smaller serve of a classic Pimm’s, coming in a 330ml bottle with a 4.0 per cent ABV and a $19.99 ABV for a four-pack of 330ml bottles.

Drewe Letchford, Diageo’s head of strategy and innovation, explained more about the insight work and talking to consumers and retailers before developing and then bringing the RTDs to market.

“We spent a lot of time partnering and listening to our retailers, so we were sitting down with our retailers and trying to understand what are the challenges they are facing with their shoppers and what do they see as the key barriers.

“I think I have asked almost every retailer in Australia ‘if you owned our portfolio, what would you do with it?’ and we got some interesting responses. So we spent a lot of time with retailers and that has fundamentally shifted the way that we think about the category and the way that we are innovating.”

TheShout's Andy Young with Drewe Letchford, David Smith and Adam Ballasty

Letchford added that their insights looked into what males aged 25-45 wanted. 

“From a drinks point of view,” Letchford said, “what they are looking for is something that is acceptable, refreshing and allows them to moderate. So the theme of moderation is huge, which is not a surprise given the growth of mid-strength beer, but consumers are now articulating ‘I want to stay in control, I want to have a drink with the guys but this isn’t a big night out’ and all that led us to create Lazy Bear, which is essentially a daytime drink from Bundaberg.

“Bundaberg has never been left off the invite list to the Aussie barbecue, it’s one of the key guests and it has been over time, but as those occasions have evolved and preferences have evolved the way that Bundy shows up in those occasions has needed to evolve too, and Lazy Bear is the product of that evolution.”

A series of television commercials will accompany each product with the Bundaberg Lazy Bear adverts going to air during the NRL finals from next weekend.

Adam Ballesty, marketing and innovation director, Diageo Australia said: “This is the biggest premix product launch we’ve had in years, which is reflected in the massive marketing campaign we have planned in the lead up to summer. The premix category is ripe for growth and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that with these exciting new innovations.”

The Shout Team

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

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