Spirit-flavoured beers rebranded under Dead Crow

Dead Crow Bourbon rumSHS Drinks is rebranding its spirit-flavoured beers under the name of Dead Crow at the start of a new marketing campaign.

It has brought together rum-flavoured beer Cuvana and bourbon-flavoured Dead Crow under the new single brand name after launching them in January last year.

The recipes and ABV of 5.5% remain the same along with the recommended retail price point but SHS has introduced new-look packaging to reflect a more premium-quality positioning.

The two lines, which come in 330ml bottles, have generated more than £1.2million of sales since their launch.

The bottles are embossed with a map of the world, signalling SHS Drinks’ intention to develop a range of spirit-flavoured beers – or “speers” – from around the globe.

A re-designed Dead Crow logo is featured on bottle neck labels, and the “bourbon” and “rum” flavour descriptors are prominently displayed on labels around the waist of the bottles.

Colour-coding of both neck and waist labels – red for bourbon and blue for rum – provides further differentiation ensuring the two lines can be easily distinguished in the chiller.

The roll-out of the re-branding and new pack design are supported by a new marketing campaign that will include sampling, driving trial and digital and social media activity plus outdoor poster advertising and consumer PR initiatives.

SHS Drinks is also exploring sponsorship and partnership opportunities, and plans are in the pipeline for an on-pack promotion later in the year.

Explaining the decision to drop the Cuvana brand name and develop a portfolio under the Dead Crow brand, Mark Hopper, head of innovation and development at SHS Drinks, said: “The two initial flavours have proved to be popular – hence our retaining both variants – but consumer feedback over the past 15 months has shown Dead Crow to be a striking, distinctive, memorable and highly compelling brand proposition.

“We have, therefore, taken the decision at this stage to move forward with Dead Crow as the brand name which will unite and align the projected family of spirit-flavoured variants in our speers portfolio, rather than launch a series of individual brands.

“It has also given us the opportunity to review the pack design and introduce the embossed bottle and refine the graphics to deliver a more premium image, whilst providing a strong platform for bringing on board new speers further down track.”

Mark said that the new “speers” category had evolved since taking off last year. “Until we launched Dead Crow and Cuvana in January 2013, there were only two tequila-flavoured beers on the UK market.

“With the arrival of bourbon-flavoured Dead Crow and rum-flavoured Cuvana, we brought new flavours and a new dimension to this emerging category and a series of ‘me toos’ followed in our wake.

“A year down track, spirit-flavoured beers have emerged as a clearly defined ‘speers’ sub-category worth £123million in annual sales across the on-trade and take home markets.

“In the on-trade sector, sales have increased by 75% in the past 12 months to reach £95million, and we expect to see growth in the fledgling category accelerate in the year ahead as more contenders enter the category and the flavour spectrum widens.

“Our own forecasts support predictions that sales will reach around £400million within the next two years.

“SHS Drinks intends to remain at the forefront of innovation in this dynamic new sub-category and we will be looking to expand the portfolio in due course, drawing inspiration, as we have done with bourbon and rum, from flavours from around the world.”

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