SBF GB&I enters the alcohol RTD market

Suntory announces its -196 Japanese alcohol RTD range

Packshot of -196 alcohol RTDs with -196 Lemon flavour and -196 Grapefruit flavour.
Suntory Beverage & Food has entered the alcohol RTD market for the firs time with the launch of two Japanese drinks.

SUNTORY Beverage & Food (SBF) GB&I has entered the alcohol RTD market for the first time with the launch of two Japanese drinks to the UK market.

Already well-established in Japan, the -196 (minus one-nine-six) brand will come in two flavours, Lemon and Grapefruit, with both coming at the slightly higher ABV of 6%.

Set to launch in April this year, Suntory reckons the launch of -196 will be on to a winner across the UK markets following a successful rollout for the brand in both the Chinese market as well as the Australian.

The drinks combine their respective natural flavours with vodka, soda and shochu, a distilled Japanese alcohol that can be made using a range of different ingredients including rice, barley, brown sugar or even sweet potatoes.

The -196 name also comes from the process in which the drinks are made, with the zest, pulp and juice from the fruits frozen with liquid nitrogen at -196°C. The frozen fruit is then smashed into a powder and infused with vodka.

SBF said the launch of -196 brings something new and exciting to the RTD market, combining a traditional Japanese spirit with modern technology to deliver this.

Carol Robert, chief operating officer at SBF GB&I, said: “This launch marks a significant move for us into the ready to drink alcohol market and is part of a much bigger strategy for portfolio growth.

“We’re very proud of our Japanese heritage and honoured to be launching one of Suntory’s iconic brands in our business for the first time.”

Alpesh Mistry, sales director at SBF GB&I, said: “It’s our first step into alcohol but with years selling some of the UK’s most popular soft drinks and the continued strong performance of our brands, we know we can make it succeed.

“We have a number of people in our business who bring great previous experience of the alcohol market, so we know we’re in a strong position to bring this exciting launch to consumers.”