WKD, Pimm’s and Gordon’s gin are expanding into the burgeoning freeze-pouch category.

Sales of freeze-pouch format drinks have trebled in the past 12 months to £16m [Nielsen 31 January 2015], and WKD owner SHS Drinks said the format had been responsible for almost half the £11.4m increase in RTD sales. Freeze pouches now account for 7% of value sale of RTDs [Nielsen].

SHS is next month rolling out WKD Original Blue - the brand’s top-selling variant - in a 250ml freeze-pouch format (rsp: £2.50). Backed with social media activity, they will initially launch in retailers including Morrisons, Nisa, Spar and Booker.

“Freeze pouches are taking the RTD market by storm,” said SHS Drinks alcohol marketing director Debs Carter. “They are easily portable, fun and have novelty appeal.

“Last year, rates of sale of freeze pouches were one and a half times higher during this period than at other times of the year,” she added.

News of the WKD launch comes in the week Diageo announced a raft of NPD (see story below) including 4.7% abv Pimm’s Summer Crush and Gordon’s Frozen Cooler freeze pouches. These will join Diageo’s existing Smirnoff and Parrot Bay pouched products.

The Gordon’s pouch is aimed at a “slightly older” consumer and is described as having a complex taste profile of apple & elderflower flavours, while Pimm’s Summer Crush has hints of strawberry and cucumber. Diageo said the two spirits brands would widen the appeal of the frozen category.

Earlier this month, ice manufacturer The Ice Co made its debut in the drinks market with the rollout of four cocktail pouches to 630 Tesco stores. Unlike most pouch drinks - which are sold ambiently - The Ice Co pouches are sold from the freezer.