Diageo is extending Smirnoff into flavoured vodkas for the first time with the launch of two variants.
It is the first time a mainstream vodka brand has made a move on the category, which has previously been dominated by premium brand Absolut and Russian vodka Stolichnaya.
The two new flavours, Lime Smirnoff and Green Apple Smirnoff, will be tested in a select number of pubs and bars in Bristol for about six months.
Diageo says the test of the new flavours will investigate the potential for growth in the flavoured vodka market, which accounts for 4% of total volume sales in the vodka category globally, compared with less than 1% in Europe.
The Bristol trial will be supported by a range of local marketing activity, including print, online and in-store merchandise. The marketing aims to educate consumers on the “signature serve” of each flavour, positioning flavoured vodka as a long mixed drink with enhanced taste.
The two flavours will be made available in 70cl bottles and have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 37.5%.
Diageo senior innovation manager Mike Martin says: “Both Lime and Green Apple Smirnoff are great options for pubs looking to differentiate their vodka serves. They complement popular serves of Smirnoff, providing additional flavour to classic long mixed drink. The Bristol test will aim to create further excitement and consumer interest in the vodka category, while driving incremental profit for licensees.”
Both the new variants will form part of the Smirnoff Twist range launched in 1997 in the US.