Sainsbury’s axes alcopop sub-brand

Sainsbury’s has become the first retailer to react to public unease about alcopops by axing its alcoholic lemonade sub-brand Piranha.

The supermarket is responding to concerns that alcopops’ branding and positioning makes them attractive to children. It follows a move by Carlsberg-Tetley to delay indefinitely the launch of its alcoholic jelly Thickhead (MW October 18).

Sainsbury’s move comes after anti-alcohol campaigners said they were worried that checkout operators may not realise the small cans contained alcoholic drinks. The supermarket chain is keen not to flout the recommendations of the drinks industry’s watchdog, the Portman Group, even though it is not a member.

The chain has withdrawn the brand from all its supermarkets and is preparing to launch a new product, without a brand name. It will be called Sainsbury’s Alcoholic Lemon Drink.

Ironically, at the time of the launch in November 1995, Sainsbury’s strategic marketing director Anthony Rees said: “We feel the name Piranha has got a bit more bite to it than plain Sainsbury’s alcoholic lemonade.”

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