This month's rundown of the latest novel drinks industry launches shows that creative packaging and unusual aromas are helping manufacturers add premium appeal in the spirits category. Elsewhere, other packaging innovations see sports bottles positioned as suitable for babies, while a juice pack which is made completely from biodegradable plastic has also hit the shelves.
Looking to leverage the premium appeal of unique packaging and production methods, Russkiy Vinokur has developed the new Krivach 61 Premium Rye Malt Distillate, available to consumers in Russia. Touted as being "unusual and provocative," it is triple distilled from rye malt, and according to the manufacturer is made using a centuries-old brass cube distillation method. The packaging is a distinctive slanted glass bottle, and the product is said to impart the flavor of freshly baked rye bread if rubbed between the hands. Cereals such as rye form the base of many spirits, but this attempt to help consumers make a tangible connection between grain-based bakery and grain-based spirits would appear to be unique.
Also mining novel territory, a new range of tequila products produced by Hacienda La Capilla in Mexico is aimed squarely at the super-rich. Recently made available in the US, the bottles for each variety of the Tequila Ley Aztec Passion Limited Edition Ultra Premium Anejo Tequila range are said to be handmade by Mexican craftsmen. Very much a luxury item, the least expensive variety comes in a yellow gold and silver bottle priced at $25,000, whereas the most expensive variety is sold in a bottle made from 3.6kg of platinum and 6,400 diamonds, and is priced at $3.5m. The launch suggests that despite the recent economic downturn, there is still an appetite among a niche consumer group for high-status products such as these.
Elsewhere in Europe, two other manufacturers are focusing on packaging innovations. Firstly, in Italy Acqua Minerale San Benedetto has devised San Benedetto Baby Bottle Mineral Water, which comes with a "push and pull" cap system said to be ideally suited for use by babies, as well as a protective overcap that is claimed to provide a hygienic seal. The repurposing of a resealable cap more commonly seen in adult sports drinks and bottled waters for an infant drink is an interesting move.
Meanwhile, UK-based company RH Amar chose to focus on the environmental benefits of plant-derived materials for its recently launched Polenghi Organic Lemon in Eco Bottle product. The bottle, the cap, and the label are all said to be both biodegradable and compostable; the bottle is made from a corn-based material as an alternative to standard oil-based plastics. The fact that every part of the bottle degrades naturally helps the product raise the stakes in the battle for eco-credibility.
Moving to the functional drinks category, All Day Energy has extended its energy drink line in the UK with the release of iShot Skinny Acai Berry Slim Potion. The product is said to contain potent botanical stimulants, appetite suppressants, and ingredients that burn fat; it is also claimed to have mood-enhancing qualities, and only one bottle is required per day for these effects to become apparent. Mood enhancement is a new boast for a slimming beverage to make, and the multitude of claims made by the product means that it has plenty to live up to.
Finally, in the field of flavor innovations, Japanese manufacturer Fukutokucho has launched a confectionery-flavored alcoholic drink. Its latest shochu-based Ginza Highball Ready-To-Drink Coctkail is flavored with marron glace (a French sugared chestnut candy). The marron glace flavor has not previously been used in a shochu-based cocktail, and is further evidence of the popularity of French confectionery flavors in the Japanese market.