Finlandia has shelved plans to launch a new ready-to-drink brand in the UK and is instead introducing a new mango flavoured vodka later this year.
The company had been researching the possibility of launching a citrus-based RTD but has concluded the market is currently too weak to risk it, and has postponed the project for at least “several years”.
It is another sign of the declining RTD category, which has suffered a 9% fall in sales (ACNielsen take-home, year to February) and is increasingly dominated by the biggest brands with few new entrants.
Finlandia, which is distributed by Brown-Forman and produced in Finland, is instead
adding a new mango flavoured vodka to the range which is already available in Original, Cranberry and Lime.
Brand marketing manager Tarja Tuunanen said: "We were looking into the possibility of pre-mixes in the UK but as far as I know this is not going to happen for a few years to come. All the market research showed there is no point in going down that road. The time is just not right for the UK at the moment."
She added: "We would be competing with big brands like Smirnoff Ice and we want to establish Finlandia as a vodka brand first."
Finlandia has launched a vodka RTD in Puerto Rico, where it has been a success, and is researching its potential in other international markets.
Tuunanen said the company believed premium vodka offered huge potential for growth in the off-trade as consumers become more experimental about mixing their own cocktails at home.
Finlandia Mango is being launched later this year in the on- and off-trade at an rsp of £13.49 after research showed mango was a popular new flavour for alcoholic drinks.
Claire Hu