Bass to launch low-cal Hooch

Bass Brewers is to launch Hooch Light, a low-calorie version of Hooper’s Hooch, in an effort to reignite the controversial alcopops market. The new line is aimed at the burgeoning lifestyle sector.

Hooch Light will have 50 per cent fewer calories than regular Hooch but the same alcoholic content. It will be lemon flavoured and is to be positioned as an alternative for consumers who are already buying low calorie food and soft drinks but looking for an alcoholic long drink.

The move mirrors Anheuser Busch’s launch of Bud Light, a low-calorie version of Budweiser, earlier this year.

Stuart Cain, spokesman for Bass Brewers, says: “There is almost a whole lifestyle that goes around [low-calorie products like soft drinks and food] but there is very little choice when it comes to alcohol.”

After spectacular initial success, Hooch’s sales are widely believed to have subsided. AC Nielsen statistics show that in the year to August last year, sales in the alcoholic carbonates sector shrank by 43 per cent.

Since then Bass has revamped Hooch with a 6m campaign, repositioning it as a more masculine and adult drink. The company denies the latest launch is in response to a further slump in sales.

Cain comments: “Hooch still sells about 2 million bottles a week. Hooch Light is an extension of the range. It is not a move to address any other issues, it is purely about giving people a choice.”

Hooch Light will be launched under the Hooper’s Hooch umbrella but is likely to attract its own marketing budget, the scale of which is still being determined.

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