Australian alcohol YouTubers Cold Ones have launched a new premix drink, described as a “Japanese and Aussie fusion RTD”. Grog, which is inspired by Japanese soft drinks, combines Japanese distilled beverage shochu, vodka and soda, in grape or peach flavour.

Chad Roberts and Max Stanley, the duo behind the Cold Ones podcast and YouTube channel, set out to challenge international industry giants with a unique and flavourful alternative to the popular seltzer.

Sitting at six per cent ABV, with a low-calorie and zero added sugar formula, the RTD is distilled and canned in Victoria using a blend of Australian and Japanese ingredients.

“We’ve spent years testing and reviewing alcohol on our Cold Ones channel, but we found we were never completely satisfied,” said Stanley. “The only drinks that ever came close were the ones we found in convenience stores on trips to Japan, but even those we felt could be improved when made locally.”

“In the beginning we approached a number of big breweries and the general consensus was that they didn’t take us seriously and didn’t believe we had the selling power,” added Roberts.

“They were happy to put our names on their already established flavours, but we didn’t want that, we wanted a drink that felt true to us. So we did it on our own terms.”

Following their rejection, Stanley and Roberts developed the flavour profile and design of their own hard Japanese soda recipe, leaning on established alcohol label 80 Proof to scale distribution.

In the first month, Grog sold over 250,000 units, with the launch party selling out 1,000 tickets in 27 minutes.

Available in a mixed pack of eight for $44.99 and single flavour 16 packs for $83.99, Grog is already on the shelves of independent retailers in Victoria and set to roll out nationwide in November.

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