Diageo to introduce ready-to-serve cocktails


Drinks group Diageo will introduce a range of ready-to-serve Smirnoff cocktails for the Irish market next week, days after it started selling a lighter version of Guinness stout in the US to revive sales.

Mojitos vodka cocktails will go on sale in Irish off-licences on May 5th, executives said at a briefing yesterday.

The cocktails being introduced include Caiprioskas vodka. The drinks are packaged in 70cl cocktail shaker-shaped bottles and will sell for €14.99 each.

The results of a six-month trial will determine whether the range is introduced across Europe. The cocktails are already sold in the US, where sales rose 48 per cent last year.

The lighter tasting bottled Guinness was Diageo’s first new stout in the US since 1966 when it went on sale this month.

Plans to develop a premium-priced Cachaca, a Brazilian spirit made from burnt sugar cane, have been shelved until markets improve.

Diageo is using its most recognized brands to fuel demand for new products after sales by volume declined for the first time in a decade.

The London-based maker of Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka is spending more on developing products for the off-trade, or drink at home market, as visits

to bars and restaurants decline in the recession.

“It became a strategic imperative to tackle wine and beer in the at-home market,” Liz Finn, European innovation director, said at the company’s Woodside, England research center.

“We need to have ideas that have scale. Opportunities in independent markets are not big enough to deliver global returns.”

In a recession “consumers want new things from brands they already know and trust,” Finn said. Brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness are “entrenched in consumer’s minds” and “pay back in a downturn,” she said.