Former Red Bull chief to launch carbonated drink

Red Bull UK former managing director Harry Drnec is making a comeback with the launch of a carbonated drink blend with 100% juice, called Suso.

Suso is expected to launch as early as August. It will not go up against Red Bull but will instead target a “general” consumer market that will find the carbonated juice drink an appealing unique selling proposition.

Suso will be priced at 75p for a 250ml can and is likely to be launched in the on-trade, where an insider says the “real interest” has been shown.

Negotiations about distribution are understood to be underway, as are those relating to funding the marketing of the new beverage.

Flavours are likely to include lemon and orange initially and, depending on success, Suso will be extended into bottled format and new flavours added.

An insider says: “Consumers are prepared to pay for quality.”

The drink was distributed in Belfast last year on a small scale, with minimal marketing supporting the launch. The insider says Suso performed well, prompting its roll-out across the UK.

Drnec stood down as UK managing director of Red Bull in March this year and has been replaced by Nigel Trood, who was previously director of off-trade sales for Red Bull UK.

The high-profile Drnec is credited with boosting sales of the energy drink: under his watch, sales of Red Bull increased from 6 million cans in 1996 – the year it launched in the UK – to 300 million last year.

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