Bulmers plots spirit alcopop launch

HP Bulmers is secretly plotting what it hopes will be a break-through product in the alcopop market. It plans to launch a spirit-based drink in six months’ time.

The new product, which has been given a working title of “Storm”, will contain a device that squirts a range of coloured flavourings into a bottle when its screw-top is opened.

The move follows a profits warning at the end of February, which the company partly blamed on poor sales of the Strongbow Spice alcopop, launched last year. There has been speculation about the new product since the company declared it was working on a “revolutionary new product” in its February financial report.

One source has speculated that the company is likely to use schnapps in the drink so that it can build on its schnapps-based chaser drink Sidekick, launched last year.

The widely hyped alcopop cider Strongbow Spice, which consists of apples, ginger, cinnamon and juniper, was intended to compete with premium packaged spirits such as Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Breezer. But despite a &£1m press and TV advertising campaign by Strongbow’s agency TBWA/London, the company had to accept that Spice had “failed to meet expectations” despite “favourable consumer testing.”

A spokesman for HP Bulmers says: “I can confirm we are working on a number of new projects, but we cannot give any details about them.”

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