Ready and thrilling

New flavours, formats and designs aim to keep RTDs, cocktails and spirit beers on trend

FOR the young adult consumer, innovation is key – be that innovation in terms of new flavours, new products, new promotions or engaging marketing. That’s the claim of Debs Carter, marketing director – alcohol at SHS Drinks, owner of WKD, Scotland’s leading RTD brand in the off-trade, in a category that’s driven by sales to young adults.


“RTD consumers are always keen to try out the latest offerings from recognised brands, which is why we’re continually looking at new innovations,” she said.

The brand’s latest limited edition, WKD Vegas, takes its inspiration from the world-famous Vegas Strip in Las Vegas USA, which SHS reckons will generate excitement among its target audience.

The firm says its £4.99 price-marked multipacks of WKD Blue and WKD Iron Brew, intended to appeal to consumers looking for value for money, have been a resounding success since their launch two years ago. And that led to the decision last month to release a WKD Red 700ml £2.99 PMP exclusively for the cash & carry, wholesale and convenience channel.

“Young adult consumers are very brand savvy, so stocking the best-sellers is essential. For outlets wanting to appeal to young adults, it’s important to keep track of any new launches accompanied by strong brand support,” said Carter.

Heineken is launching a new version of its spirit beer brand Desperados, aimed at young adult consumers looking for new and unusual flavours.

Desperados Red is said to be the first ever tequila-flavoured beer to include both guarana (a stimulant often used in energy drinks) and cachaça (a South American spirit made from sugar cane juice).


“Desperados has led the way in establishing spirit beers in the UK, but consumer preferences are continually evolving, especially within the young adult age group,” said Martin Porter, managing director – off-trade at Heineken. “Now, more than ever, they expect exciting flavours and new ingredients.

“With its unexpected new taste, sales of Desperados Red in other countries have been outstanding, which is why we are confident that the new flavour will be an important new addition to our UK customers’ premium packed beers offering.”

Desperados Red comes in packs of 3x330ml bottles at an RRP of £6.85.

Malibu’s pre-mixed range has a new design and its first diet variant as part of the latest activity for the brand.

Rolling out to stores now, cans of the existing three-strong line-up – featuring Malibu Caribbean Rum with Coconut and a choice of Cola, Mango or Pineapple flavours – have been given a makeover that adds sparkling bubbles to the on-pack design.


A Diet Cola variant is new to the line-up, which brand owner Pernod Ricard UK reckons will help retailers capitalise on what they call the “hottest new trend” in the ready-to-drink category.

“We have enjoyed huge success with our pre-mixed range since we first launched in 2011,” said Adam Boita, head of marketing for the firm. “And it’s really important that we continue to innovate and excite our audience.

“We believe the eye-catching new makeover across our range, coupled with our first ever diet variant, will help us to do just that.”