Diageo is releasing Johnnie & Ginger – an RTD featuring Johnnie Walker Red Label and ginger ale – in Australia this month.
Marketing manager Jonathan Morgan said: “With the warmer months just around the corner, Johnnie & Ginger is a great choice for Australians looking to make their weekend get-togethers with friends that little bit more special.”
Bottled at 4.6% abv, Johnnie & Ginger is available in both bottle and can format. It’s described as having a “crisp and refreshing” taste and is recommended to be served poured over ice.
According to Diageo, the new expression is a “premium alternative” to traditional RTD’s or beer.
The launch of Johnnie & Ginger will be supported by a wider marketing campaign featuring outdoor, PR, social and point of sale support.
RTD market booming in Australia for Diageo
Diageo shares skyrocketed last week following the company reporting a 15% increase in net sales to £12.1 billion, which resulted in a 5.5% rise in its share price to a record £23.90.
In Australia net sales grew by 2.7%, driven by growth in Scotch, premium spirits and the company’s RTD innovations.
Among its recent successes in the RTD category are Bundaberg Lazy Bear, Smirnoff Pure and Pimms (did you spot it poolside on The Bachelor last week?), driven by consumer demand for “lower tempo, refreshing drinks”.
Bundaberg Lazy Bear has been coined as the biggest premix innovation for close to a decade. It has become the No 1 driver of premix in Australia and has single-handedly contributed 20% of the entire category growth in 2017.
Diageo remains buoyant about the RTD market, despite a tax system that leads to RTDs with the same alcohol as full-strength beer being subjected to nearly double the tax.
Former Diageo Australia managing director Tim Salt told Business Insider in 2015 that the company wants all alcohol taxed at the same rate: “The alcohol taxation system in Australia as it stands urgently needs simplification and a generous measure of fairness.
“Alcohol is alcohol regardless of what form it comes in. The breathalyser doesn’t discriminate between beer, wine and spirits, so why should the taxman?”