Diageo Australia has responded to industry criticism of its new Smirnoff Signature Serves, saying the product had been misunderstood and pointing to global trends in support of its launch.

TheShout offered Diageo Australia innovations director, Jonathan Curnow, a chance to react to trade comment published on Friday (Aug 20).

“There appears to be some misunderstanding around the positioning of our new product Smirnoff Signature Serves.

This product is all about providing a quality experience to consumers aged 30+ who are entertaining at home. There is an undeniable global trend of consumers socialising more at home, and Smirnoff Signature Serves has been developed to meet with that trend. Consumers are looking for convenience without wanting to compromise on quality – what we have done is aim to replicate the standard and quality of classic drinks you would order in a bar. It is about bringing people into the spirits category on occasions when they might be considering another drink.

The whole concept of ready-to-serve is distinct from ready-to-drink. It is all about a multi-serve format that is designed to be poured into a glass and shared with friends. Smirnoff Signature Serves is at a premium RRP of $26.99 for 10 standard drinks. Ready-to-drink is more about a single serve format, usually in a bottle or a can.

We conducted thorough research into this product amongst 30+ female consumers, and the response amongst this group was overwhelmingly positive. They liked the dry, tart flavour of the liquid, and told us the alcohol content, at 6.4%, was a lighter option compared to wine. We also tested different packaging options – a bottle, can and box and they told us that the box format was the most convenient when thinking about occasions like entertaining at home or around the barbecue with friends.

It’s important to note that this is different to a cocktail product – it is a classic mix of Smirnoff with Cranberry or Blood Orange. It is distinct from our Smirnoff Cocktails range, which was launched late last year and has been performing extremely well in the market.

The issue of binge drinking is a serious and very complex issue. But binge drinking is not about the product, it’s about the way alcohol is consumed. As a producer, we have always taken our responsibility seriously and never target people under the legal purchase age in our product innovation, design or marketing. As with all of our products, standard drinks guidance and ABV information is displayed on the packaging.

Smirnoff Signature Serves is truly original in its format, and as with any true innovation, it is bound to create a reaction. The response from our customers has been very positive, they are excited about the launch. We are confident that it will be received well by consumers, and we remain committed to innovating in a responsible way.”

The Shout Team

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

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