Soft drink company Coca-Cola is looking to wrest a share of the adult fruit juice drink sector from rival Britvic's successful J2O brand.
Launching in mid-March, Deuce will be packaged in 275ml bottles sold exclusively in the on-trade and available in cranberry & raspberry, and orange & guava flavours.
The new launch reflects both the success of J2O, launched by Britvic in September 1998, and the buoyancy of the on-trade soft drinks market, which is up six per cent overall, with juice and juice drinks growing at 12 per cent year-on-year.
Paul Grace, senior marketing manager of Coca Cola Enter-prises (CCE), admitted that "we've not been the quickest out of the blocks" regarding the long-awaited launch. But he explained that the 18 months of development for Deuce had featured extensive consumer testing and tweaking of the recipe.
"Deuce has been built around consumer feedback, mainly relating to the taste," he said.
The drink is slightly less dense than J2O, providing greater "sessionability," and also contains less sugar. The two variants contain approximately 90 calories (cranberry) and 120 (orange) per bottle.
The launch is part of an expanded Schweppes range that is intended to make the 222-year-old brand more relevant to today's on-trade. This also includes the repackaging of Appletiser and a greater range of juice bottle sizes and children's drinks.
CCE is aiming to move Schweppes from the "golf club G&T" arena to a more contemporary proposition, citing examples such as Mini and Burberry as brands it sees as having become more relevant to younger consumers. In spite of research showing that the average pub has only 2.5 facings in its fridges for fruit juice drinks, CCE hopes some venues will initially stock it alongside J2O.
Incentives for barstaff, consumers and sales staff will be a key part of the launch, including a three-month "buy one, get one free" offer for stockists. It will be backed by a £1.5m advertising and PR spend.
A third flavour may be introduced in the future, but CCE confirmed that it is planning to keep the Deuce brand exclusive to the on-trade.