Bottled cocktail launches tap into staying-in trend

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Diageo and West Eleven are looking to shake up the RTD category - and tap into the trend for entertaining at home - with bottled cocktails.

A bottled Margarita is being rolled out under Diageo’s Jose Cuervo tequila brand, while West Eleven is to relaunch its ready-to-drink cocktails in larger take-home bottles.

Jose Cuervo Authentic Margaritas, rsp £5.49 for 70cl, was first launched on a trial basis in some Asda and Tesco stores in October 2007, but will become a permanent fixture in the multiples from April, supported by a £75,000 marketing investment.

Eighteen months of strong sales had spurred the decision to take it nationwide, said Jose Cuervo senior brand manager Emma Sherwood-Smith.

“Ready-to-serve drinks are increasing in popularity alongside the trend towards entertaining at home,” she said. “Pre-mix and cocktail drinks provide consumers with a great-tasting alternative to beer and wine, with the same level of convenience.

“These new Margaritas provide people with a more creative bottled drink and enable them to serve bar-standard cocktails easily from home.”

West Eleven, meanwhile, is phasing out 200ml bottles of its RTD cocktails in favour of a 500ml format - equivalent to four servings in each bottle.

The cocktails will be available from May in four flavours - Passionfruit Mai Tai, Classic Mojito, Pomegranate Cosmo and Elderflower Collins (rsp £4.50). The company has dropped its Blueberry Bramble variant but a fifth flavour is set to be launched later this year.

West Eleven said the larger bottle offered greater value for money and claimed it had improved the cocktails’ recipes to give them more bite.

The RTD market had lacked innovation and was in need of an overhaul, said West Eleven business development manager Andy Shovel.

“Consumers are staying in more and looking for an alternative to traditional RTDs - they are ready for a change,” he said. “We see West Eleven cocktails as a more premium offering to other RTDs on the shelf.”

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