Wine and Food

Halewood launches Red Square Vodka pre-mix can range

redsquare_combined-imageHalewood Wines & Spirits has launched a pre-mix can range to extend the appeal of its Red Square Vodka brand.

The new range consists of sloe and lemonade, plus toffee and apple flavours. It will be available throughout the off-trade in single serve 250ml cans with an ABV of 5%. The flavours were developed following strong consumer reaction to Red Square’s new sloe and toffee vodkas, which were launched last year, Halewood said.

The launch of pre-mix cans for Red Square allows the brand to reach new audiences and appeal to a greater variety of occasions, such as summer and outdoor events, the alcohol distributor said. Halewood added that pre-mix cans appeal to a younger and predominately female audience, and Red Square’s new offering will attract new consumers to the brand.

The new variants have been formulated “to deliver an exceptionally smooth and fruity taste”, while £3 price-marked cans are also available.

A spokesperson for Halewood Wines & Spirits said: “The Red Square cans will capitalise on increasing consumer popularity for both pre-mix cocktails and our new Red Square flavoured vodkas.

“The bold, colourful designs of the Red Square cans creates significant stand-out on shelf for retailers, and the convenience of the can format will help to drive consumer demand over the summer months.

“There continues to a high level of consumer interest in pre-mix cans, with an average growth of 17.7% across all brands with a 250ml serving, which Red Square will now be able to tap into.”


Bacardi adds seasonal grapefruit and raspberry-flavoured rums

image0062-1Rum brand Bacardi has unveiled plans to “heat up the season” with the debut of two new summer flavours: Bacardi grapefruit and Bacardi raspberry.

The new grapefruit variant is a white rum infused with pink grapefruit flavours to create a sour and semi-sweet fresh taste, while Bacardi raspberry is infused with citrus raspberry flavours to create a “mouth-watering” mixture of sweet and tart. Both new flavours are now available in 750ml size for a suggested retail price of $12.99, in addition to 50ml, 200ml, 375ml, 1 litre and 1.75 litre bottle sizes.

Both are designed specifically to liven up the entertaining season.
The flavour launches are easily mixable in any type of cocktail, Bacardi said, and to celebrate their release the brand will offer monthly speciality cocktails available to order in the US through Cocktail Courier, a premiere online cocktail delivery service.

“The new flavours, Bacardi grapefruit and Bacardi raspberry, will cool down all your warm weather occasions, especially in fun summer cocktails like punch,” said Juan Coronado, national brand ambassador for Bacardi rum. “Punch is a communal way to reconnect with friends and share a fun bonding experience over a great cocktail.”


Interview: Bootleg Botanicals offering the chance to ‘make your own’

In recent years, DIY food and drinks kits have become really popular with consumers. From home-brewing kits to cheese making kits, the DIY trend is one that appeals to all, but predominantly the millennial consumer looking for a new and creative food and drink experience.

Bootleg Botanicals are a US start-up based in Las Vegas that has recently launched a range of alcohol infusion kits. While distillation can cause issues, the start-up has created a way for consumers to easily create spirits in their own home and flavour to taste. We spoke with co-founder Melanie Belshee from Bootleg Botanicals about its range and the latest trends in alcohol.

Tell us about Bootleg Botanicals. How and why did you start up the brand?

My husband Ryan and I have always enjoyed experimenting with home-brewing beer, wine and cider but one day Ryan decided he’d like to try making absinthe.

He spent weeks researching and discovered that there really was not a legal way to make absinthe at home through the traditional distillation method. It can also be dangerous and since we were living in a condo at the time, distilling was absolutely out of the question. I convinced him to give infusing a try. So we did, and after some tweaking and taste testing it turned out to be really good. So good that when we hosted a blind taste test and put our batch of absinthe up against popular store-bought brands, ours actually won the contest.

After the absinthe, we came up with some other ideas such as an Old Fashioned cocktail blend and compound gin. We were five years into the business of making a security product but the idea of creating an infusion kit was so appealing that we decided to go for it and launched a Kickstarter project to test the market and see if anyone else thought this was a good idea.

To our shock and amazement, the idea was a bigger hit than we expected. Our initial goal was just $5,500 and the campaign closed at over $30,000. We both had a feeling at that point that this was an idea worth exploring.

Selling security products is hard work but alcohol is something with mass appeal, it’s fun and we decided to close the doors on our former business and give Bootleg Botanicals all of our love and attention. So far we are very glad we made that call.

tastingroom2How did you develop each infusion kit and which has been the most popular?

Absinthe was our first experiment and has continued to be a favourite but by far our most popular blend is the Old Fashioned cocktail blend.

With all of our blends we used a method of infusing each herb and spice in a neutral grain high-proof spirit, mixing drops of each infusion until we like the flavour profile of the blend. Before starting to blend the tinctures, we tasted each individually and logged what we discovered. For instance, grand wormwood tastes like unsalted pickles with the bitterness of grapefruit. By itself, it’s pretty unappealing but when properly infused it makes absinthe delicious.

Side-by-side comparison tastings helped a lot. It’s amazing how you can pinpoint the different flavours of something when you really stop and think about what you’re tasting. That part took some practice.

We knew from the start that we wanted the herbs and spices to be organic to prevent any unwanted chemicals from making their way into the finished drink. We also liked the idea that the sugar content could be controlled. We really don’t care for most of the liqueurs on the market because they are extremely artificial and overly sweet for our tastebuds. Of course everyone will be different and will taste differently. That’s the beauty of infusing; you can create a flavour that meets your needs.

What market research did you do before launching them?

All of our initial blends were tested out on our friends and family before launching them on Kickstarter. Truthfully we went with liqueurs and cocktails we personally enjoyed out of the gate. Market research was difficult on our product line because only a handful of companies offer infusion products. Now that we have a few years under our belts we’re learning what the public seems to resonate with. Our brand image is prohibition era so we like to stick with drinks that fit that era but also match trends from within the drinking community.

ginger-jug copy

Our newest blend, the Ginger Mule cocktail kit, allows home-brew enthusiasts to make their own alcoholic ginger beer. It is a slight deviation from our infusion kits but offers the same high-quality, organic dried ingredients. Unlike distillation, home-brewing beer is completely safe and legal. With the popularity of alcoholic soda and the Moscow Mule we’re hoping this kit will be a big success for us in 2016 and beyond.

Why do you think there has been an increase in food and drink DIY kits on the market?

I think that people have become more aware of what is in the food and drinks they enjoy. Gluten intolerance is up, people are more careful about the amount of sugar they consume, and avoiding artificial ingredients and GMO processed food is a priority in many households. DIY is not only a fun hobby but it gives you control over what you are consuming. It’s also a lot of fun to share your homemade creations and impress your friends with your amazing skills.

Who is your target market and how are you attracting them?

Our product appears to appeal to the 25–45-year-old range, predominately male culinary enthusiasts who are creative and a bit theatrical. Gift-giving season is really our largest sales time. The Kickstarter community and Etsy have played an integral role in helping us find retailers that match our target market. Many of the retail relationships we currently have come through Kickstarter and Etsy connections. We have been fortunate to have not needed much outside advertising to spread the word. It’s been amazing and a completely different experience from our former business ventures.

What’s your view of the current alcohol market? What are consumers looking for?

Tastes are always changing. While whiskey was big a couple years ago, today alcoholic sodas seem to be making a big splash. It really is hard to predict what will be the next big thing down the line but I think that classic cocktails won’t ever really go out of style. I predict tequila will also be making a big come back in 2016-2017, especially flavoured tequila.

What’s your plan for 2016?

We are super excited for the Ginger Mule kit to make its debut in a couple months. We wrapped up our third Kickstarter campaign last month and are waiting for our raw goods to make it in so we can get all of our backers their rewards. From there, we’ll be launching the Ginger Mule to the public and looking forward to seeing how the public responds. The kit will include two 100% copper mule mugs, the basic brewing supplies required to batch 1 gallon of ginger beer, organic ingredients to make a ginger beer that is gluten-free, contains no GMOs and is vegan-friendly. We have a couple other ideas up our sleeves that will probably have to wait until 2017 but you never know.


World’s Strangest Liquors

920x920This tangy, yogurt-based liqueur may be made inHolland and bottled in France, but its target market is strictly Japan. Drunk straight or mixed with orange or pineapple juice, the creamy, fruity-sweet combo is especially popular among the health-conscious. But when asked about the calcium content of Yogurito, a Suntory representative remarked, “Yogurito is made from yogurt and tastes like yogurt, but is not yogurt. We cannot say that it’s healthy.”

Where to Find It: In bars, restaurants, and chain supermarkets across Japan.


Pimm’s adds three new flavours of its Cider Cup ahead of summer

Strawberry-CucumberPimm’s Cider Cup has added new summer fruits, plum and red apple, and mango and passionfruit flavours to join the strawberry and cucumber variant launched last June.

The product developments will “provide retailers with innovation to tap into the growing cider segment, worth £1bn to the off-trade,” Pimm’s claimed. Available from April across all channels, the full range all combine Pimm’s No.1 spirit with British cider and a hint of fruitiness.

Claire O’Neill, innovation commercialisation manager for Diageo, said: “The extended Pimm’s Cider Cup range is timed to perfection for retailers, who can now offer customers the perfect patriotic tipple to accompany the British summertime. Summer is a key sales moment for cider and as a brand long associated with everything British, Pimm’s Cider Cup is a must stock ahead of moments of national celebration including Wimbledon and The Queen’s Patron’s Lunch.

“Our insight shows us that frequent cider drinkers are more likely to experiment by trying something new. With its truly different, less sweet and more fermented taste, the newly extended Pimm’s Cider Cup range provides innovation that taps into this lucrative category and we’re confident it will drive sales for retailers as we look forward to a fantastic summer ahead.”

Each variant in the Pimm’s Cider Cup range has a recommended retail price of £2.29 per bottle, available in cases of eight.


Coca-Cola launches ‘velvety chocolate’ Zico coconut water

ZICOCoca-Cola South Pacific has added a new “velvety chocolate” flavour of its Zico coconut water.

Featuring not from concentrate ingredients, the fresh variant is the brand’s second chocolate offering after Zico chocolate-flavoured coconut water. Designed to enhance the brand’s appeal among active and health-conscious female consumers, its launch comes less than three years after Coca-Cola completed a deal for all of the remaining shares in Zico – an acquisition that began back in 2009.

Zico coconut waters “naturally supports hydration with five electrolytes, including as much potassium as a banana,” the company says.

Zico brand manager Gloria Young said: “We’re thrilled to expand the Zico range for the first time since we launched the brand in 2014. The introduction of Zico velvety chocolate provides an opportunity to bring new consumers into the category and experience what Zico has to offer. Zico appeals to those looking for options that meet the needs of their active lifestyles.

“Innovation lies at the heart of our strategy to drive growth and the launch of this product marks an exciting start of things to come.”

The new flavour, which will launch in retailers across Australia through July, will be packaged in 330ml and 1 litre cartons.


Halewood unveils range of craft spirits with ‘exciting flavours’

J.J.-Whitley-London-Dry-Gin-70clUK drinks manufacturer Halewood International has launched a new range of craft spirits to tap into increasing demand among younger consumers for new flavour combinations within the spirits category.

The 38.6% ABV JJ Whitley range will initially feature two gins – London dry gin and elderflower gin – as well as potato vodka and rhubarb vodka. The four new products will be made available throughout the UK’s on-trade channel, Halewood said.

The line-up is inspired by the British countryside and comprises subtle and unusual flavours, and a family tradition of distilling and high quality liquids, which offers a distinct point-of-difference to other gins and vodkas currently available, the company added.

JJ Whitley London dry gin is blended with eight botanicals including juniper and citrus peel, resulting in a smooth finish. The elderflower gin contains a mixture of subtle flavours found throughout rural England, including real elderflower extract and cinnamon, and is ideally suited as a base for summer cocktails.

The JJ Whitley potato vodka is made with 100% potato to create a clean, crisp vodka with a hint of black pepper that serves as an ideal base to a vodka martini. The rhubarb vodka, meanwhile, contains natural rhubarb extract and is a versatile base for fruity, summer cocktails.

The range features an elegant bottle design, providing significant standout on the back bar, and highlights JJ Whitley’s propositions of quality and heritage, Halewood continued.

“The JJ Whitley range was developed in response to increasing consumer demand for quality, versatile liquids which can be used as a base for a variety of drinks, including cocktails,” a company spokesperson said.

“The variety, quality and flavour combinations in the JJ Whitley range will also encourage consumers to trade up, and will allow operators to provide a greater and more curious range of drinks.”

The range is named after the Whitley family, which began creating fine spirits in Cheshire in 1762 using ingredients and delicate flavours from around the world.


Researchers develop ‘first device’ to monitor wine as it matures

redwine1220The first portable device to monitor wine as it matures has been developed by a team of students from Université Paris-Saclay in France.

The students adapted blood analysis technology invented by biotech start-up Archimej Technology into a unique device that allows real-time control of wine quality, eliminating the huge financial costs and vast quantities of wine that are lost from biological phenomena.

The device eliminates the need to send samples for laboratory testing, which is costly, time consuming and means that winemakers are unable to test their whole production. Instead, the product uses a WiFi connection that allows results to be shared through an online oenological platform. The patented technology monitors factors such as alcohol and acidity levels directly at wineries.

“We are testing our prototype and working with different labs and wineries,” said Luv Valecha, co-founder of the start-up behind the project, True Spirit. “This is only the tip of the iceberg. Not only can we analyse wine but also spirits, beer, perfumes, olive oil and fuel.”

The students will now meet with more winemakers in the Bordeaux wine-growing region in a bid to develop the technology further.


London brewer develops beer made from bread

Screen-Shot-2016-01-25-at-10.22.22An East London brewery has launched a novel new ale that “turns leftover bread into beer”.

The new Toast Ale, from the Hackney-based company of the same name, sources fresh, artisan breads that would otherwise be wasted and gives them a new lease of life. The company has said that is slices, toasts and mashes the bread to make its own breadcrumbs, before brewing them with malted barley, hops and yeast.

Each bottle of Toast Ale contains one slice of bread and will seek to help reduce the amount of food wasted in British homes every year. A total of 15m tonnes of food each year is wasted in the UK, across both the supply chain and in home.

The toasted bread, the company added, “adds caramel notes that balance the bitter hops, giving a malty taste similar to amber ales and wheat beers”. The resulting beer, which is available from a number of independent stockists and online sellers, has an ABV of 5% and retails for £3 per 330ml bottle.

All of the profits from the sale of the beer will be donated to Feedback, an environmetal organisation that campaigns to end food waste across the supply chain.

Toast Ale’s Tristram Stuart said: “Tackling the global issue of food waste has taken me all over the world. It was at the Brussels Beer Project where I first found out about this innovative brewing process that turns a colossal global problem into a delicious, drinkable solution. We hope to put ourselves out of business. The day there’s no waste bread is the day Toast Ale can no longer exist.”


Carlsberg opens pop-up bar made entirely from chocolate for Easter

1424472_760418314059445_2328124234201567972_nCarlsberg has set up a pop-up bar in London made entirely from chocolate for the Easter weekend.

The pop-up – entitled If Carlsberg Did Chocolate Bars, in reference to the Danish beer maker’s existing marketing tagline – appeared as a giant bar of chocolate affixed to the wall of the Truman Brewery in London this morning. Carlsberg later unwrapped the foil on the front of the bar to unveil a fully functioning, three metre-deep pop-up bar, which was specially commissioned ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend.

The bar, measuring five metres wide by two metres high, contains intricate chocolate features that you’d expect to see in a traditional British pub. Highlights include a handcrafted chocolate dartboard, carefully constructed chocolate bar stools and a bespoke chocolate television screen, showcasing one of England’s greatest World Cup moments.

Members of the public were invited to help themselves to a complementary half-pint of ice-cold Carlsberg, served in a bespoke Carlsberg-engraved milk chocolate glass.

Carlsberg’s tagline for the initiative shows that the brand has sought to redefine the phrase “chocolate bar” with the initiative.

Dharmesh Rana, senior brand manager of Carlsberg UK, said: “Easter is a big beer-drinking occasion for our consumers and this year, we wanted to do something a bit different. We knew that the British public love beer and chocolate, so we’re delighted to bring them together to create probably the best bar there could be.

“We pride ourselves on turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, and by creating a world-first chocolate bar, we feel that we’ve done just that.”

In total, nearly half a tonne of chocolate was required to construct the bar.