Diageo plans ‘vodka water’ follow-up to Smirnoff Ice

Diageo is testing a new Smirnoff-branded alcoholic sparkling water in the US as it steps up the search for a successor to Smirnoff Ice.

Smirnoff Source comes in two variants – Pure Citrus and Pure Orange – and is a lightly carbonated mix of spring water, natural flavours and malt alcohol with an alcohol by volume level of 3.5%. It is understood Diageo North America will test-market the product in Texas.

If the drink proves popular, it is expected to be rolled out across the US and then introduced to the European market, including the UK.

Diageo previously dominated the US market for flavoured malt bevarages or “malternatives” with its Smifnoff Ice brand, but in recent years it has lost market share to new brands such as Boston Beer Co’s Twisted Tea, an alcoholic iced tea. Diageo has already launched its own version, Smirnoff Raw Tea, which is currently being marketed through a viral parody-style video featuring white, upper-class rappers.

Drinks industry experts say the latest “malternative” launches aim to expand the category, which has traditionally appealed mainly to younger women. The newer products are less sweet and are being marketed more in line with beers.

Malternatives are the US equivalent of flavoured alcoholic beverages (FABs) – or alcopops – in the UK and Europe. The key difference between the products is that FABs are spirit-based whereas “malternatives” use beer as a base. This enables manufacturers to get around licensing laws so the drinks can be sold in outlets with just a beer licence.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here