It has announced plans to launch New Zealand’s 67-year-old brand Old Mout Cider in the UK, using the same recipe for the apple cider but creating three flavours designed for British palates.
Launching on March 24, the flavours will be Summer Berries, Passionfruit and Apple, and Kiwi and Lime. They have ABV of 4% and come in 500ml bottles, aimed at a similar audience to Swedish ciders Rekorderlig and Kopparberg.
After the success of Desperados in the UK, Heineken is planning to launch Desperados Verde, a new variant inspired by a Mojito. It adds mint and lime to the blend of beer and tequila, at 4.7% ABV – slightly lower than Desperados.
Due for launch in the UK in March, it is set to appeal to both male and female drinkers with its lighter, sweeter taste, tapping into a trend for flavour experimentation among people aged 18 to 34.
The launches are part of a raft of new initiatives from Heineken UK, which also includes the roll-out of a new premium frosted font for serving Heineken extra cold in a glass stored in a freezer.
It is also continuing to develop the lower-alcohol “moderation” category with the launch of bottled Bulmers Cider Five Fruit Harvest and Bulmers Cider Indian Summer at only 2.8% ABV.
They follow last year’s launch of Foster’s Radler, which is cut with cloudy lemon juice and has an ABV of only 2%. Two new variants will be added in March: Foster’s Radler with Lime & Ginger, also at 2% ABV, and a 0.0% ABV version of the original Foster’s Radler.
Old Mout – pronounced “moot” – was part of the portfolio acquired by Heineken when it took over Asia-Pacific Breweries in 2012. Founded in 1947 in Nelson in the Moutere Valley, it is New Zealand’s leading packaged cider brand.
While using the original recipe, the UK flavoured variants will be produced at Heineken’s cider-makers in Stassen in Belgium. It is already due to be listed by pub companies Enterprise, Punch and Star Pubs & Bars.
Aimed at drinkers aged 18 to 24, Old Mout is recommended for serving chilled in a branded glass, ideally with fruit and ice.
Heineken UK on-trade managing director Lawson Mountstevens said they chose an existing brand rather than create a new one because “heritage and provenance matter”.
“Old Mout will bring an exciting new dimension to our cider portfolio and will help licensees to tap into the rising demand for premium drinking experiences,” he said.
“With a really strong Kiwi heritage and playful sense of humour, we think that it will quickly find popularity with new and existing cider drinkers looking to discover brands off the beaten track.
“You can tell that it’s a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously and its Kiwi humour is typified by the advertising promise of ‘tasty ways to make fruit more useful’.”
The UK launch of Old Mout will be supported by a £3million marketing spend including print and outdoor advertising, in-outlet sampling and digital marketing to drive trial and awareness.
The launch of Desperados Verde follows a 71% increase in volume sales for spirit-flavoured beers – or “speers” – in the on-trade, with Desperados itself increasing value sales by 70% over the last year.
Targeting over 13,000 outlets through the launch, Desperados Verde will be supported by a heavyweight sampling campaign to drive trial and awareness. New point-of-sale kits will include posters, table talkers, fridge vinyls, T-shirts, branded taster glasses and waiter trays in the new variant’s eye-catching lime green.
Desperados Verde is available in 330ml bottles and is intended for stocking alongside the original Desperados variant.
Lawson said: “Heineken recognises that palates are changing, with consumers increasingly opting for sweeter flavours and lighter tastes. We have seen an explosion of flavour innovation across both the cider and spirits categories and are beginning to witness a similar pattern with flavoured beers.
“Desperados is ideally placed to lead this trend due to the sensory taste experience it offers and its edgy urban positioning and contemporary image.
“Desperados Verde has been launched to keep pace with the expectations of young adult drinkers, offering them a sweeter taste and helping them create the desired impression at social occasions.
“We are confident that the new flavour will help the brand stay fresh and relevant to its growing army of loyal consumers, while actively recruiting more new drinkers to the beer category.”
Heineken UK has also announced the roll-out of a new initiative called Our Shout, which will reward its customers for stocking its brands by providing tailored support with marketing and business development.
The “toolkit” includes designing and managing a website for the outlet, developing radio and local press ad campaigns and maintaining social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
It will also offer commercial-standard wi-fi so that outlets can attract consumers and a mobile tablet so that licensees can manage their digital activities and other activities more easily.
The marketing has to contain little branding for Heineken products as it is intended to reward and support licensees stocking its brands such as Heineken, Foster’s, Strongbow, Amstel, Kronenbourg 1664, Symonds Reserve and John Smith’s Extra Smooth.
Lawson said: “We recognise that the best way to engage with our customers is to help them engage with their own. ‘Our Shout’ is more than just an initiative for outlets to stock our portfolio of brands, it’s a massive opportunity for publicans to use our expertise to help drive sales and footfall in a highly competitive market and make a real impact as a business.
“We know that every pub and bar that signs up to Our Shout is unique and each will have different expectations and requirements. The personalised marketing service and incentives the scheme offers will be tailored to suit the specific needs of our customers.
“We’re confident that the reward options will deliver significant tangible benefits to participating outlets, enhancing services and experiences for their existing clientele while increasing their ability to attract new drinkers. We like to think of Our Shout as a pub’s own personalised marketing agency.”
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