White Spirits and RTDs - UK - December 2016
“That an interesting flavour profile stands out as the top way to add value stands in contrast to white spirits’ traditional proposition of providing a subtle flavour, with vodka in a more challenging position in this respect. Gin has an edge in this context, being by its nature a flavoured drink.”
– Amy Price, Senior Food and Drink Analyst
This report is looking at the following areas:
- Flavour is the top way to add value
- Major players move into craft
- Long-established brands trump smaller producers
- Potential for lower-alcohol/healthier versions
For the purpose of this Report, the following definitions have been used throughout:
- Vodka is a clear, colourless, almost odourless spirit made from the distillation of potatoes, and sometimes from corn, rye, wheat, sugar beet molasses or other agricultural matter. The European Union requires that vodka must have a minimum ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of 37.5%. Flavoured vodka products such as Smirnoff Blueberry and Absolut Raspberri Vodka, which are simple flavoured versions of the base spirits, are included in this Report.
- Gin predominantly derives its flavour from juniper berries and falls into two distinct categories: distilled gin is made from re-distilling the neutral spirit of agricultural origin with juniper berries and other botanicals, while compound gin is made by flavouring the neutral spirit with flavourings without re-distilling it and is hence typically considered inferior in quality.
- White rum is produced from sugarcane juice and molasses. Unlike dark rum, it is aged in plain oak casks or stainless steel tanks so the colour remains clear. Bacardi and Malibu are the two best-known brands in the segment.
- Tequila is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of the same name in Mexico. Tequila is most often made at 38-40% ABV but can also be produced at 31-55%. Mezcal is made from the maguey plant, a type of agave plant, although it remains decidedly niche in the UK.
- RTDs is a trade term used to describe any drink featuring an alcoholic drink and a mixer sold pre-mixed typically either in bottles or cans. They include fruit-, herb-, soda- or water-based, still or carbonated drinks combined with at least one base spirit, and usually have an ABV of 4-6%. Mintel uses the term RTDs and pre-mixed drinks interchangeably in this Report.
- Not all RTDs are made from white spirits (eg Jack Daniel’s & Coke in a can), although white spirits have traditionally been the base spirit for this category. This Report will analyse the whole RTD market, not just those products with white spirits as a base.
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