New product round-up

Shipyard, Grolsch, Thatchers draft on-trade launches

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

More pours: which new products have launched in the past week?
More pours: which new products have launched in the past week?

Related tags: Beer, Spirits, Rtd

Shipyard, Grolsch and Thatchers have lined up new brews to help them tap into the on-trade while new sparkling mead, banana rum and English vermouth launches have also hit the market.

Van Hunks sparkling mead

South African drinks maker Van Hunks has launched a Brut Sparkling Mead and a Brut Rosé Sparkling in the UK and Europe.  

Made from with only three ingredients – honey, yeast and water – the 12.5% ABV pours contain no artificial flavourings or additional sugar.

“Our vision is to bring the energy, excitement and intrigue from the spirits world and use it to refresh a tired sparkling category,” Tom Gamborg, founder of Van Hunks and Skäl Drinks explained.

“We have focused on the beauty of our product and brand story to change how consumers view mead, and plan to do what Prosecco did to sparkling wine, with no sugar and our authentic craft credentials.”

Matt Krone, master wine maker and co-founder of Van Hunks added: “Mead is an all-natural untapped product that has huge potential for growth. 

“The next generation of consumers is looking for healthier products containing less sugar. That means the time for mead is now.”

Van Hunks

New Shipyard lager docks in the on-trade 

Brewed and distributed by Marston’s in the UK, American craft beer brand, Shipyard, is growing its fleet of on-trade pours in the UK with the launch of new brew, 4.5% ABV Shipyard Portland Lager.

“Premiumisation is a trend that’s not going away and the Shipyard brand has already helped to drive serious value sales for the category overall by encouraging consumers to trade up and choose craft options in outlet,” Abigail Spencer, marketing manager at Shipyard, said.

“After Shipyard off-trade volume sales more than doubled (+116%) significantly outperforming the rest of the ale market in retail during lockdown, we’ve seen demand for the brand come into its own. 

“We recognise it’s been a really tough year for the on-trade, but we’re confident the clear consumer appetite for Shipyard will extend to pubs, bars and restaurants as outlets continue to reopen. 

“And, with our latest launch, we expect Shipyard Portland Lager to drive value into lager in the same way that our range of American craft ales have contributed to value growth in their respective sub-categories.”


Grolsch makes UK return 

As reported by The Morning Advertiser (The MA),​ Grolsch will return to the UK on-trade after its 35-year presence ended last November.

The lager was acquired by Japanese-owned Asahi from AB InBev (now Budweiser Brewing Group) in 2016 along with Peroni and Meantime during InBev’s buyout of SABMiller.

The 4% ABV pour will return to UK pubs and bars with a new look and under the name of Grolsch Premium Pilsner.

As well making a comeback, the beer will be brewed in its homeland of Enschede, Netherlands, having previously been made in the UK under contract with Molson Coors.

The beer left after Asahi pulled the contract with Molson Coors when it was delisted by supermarkets Asda and Tesco.

Read more here​.


Sacred launches three English vermouths 

Made with English wine from Three Choirs in Gloucestershire and vacuum distilled botanicals from its distillery in Highgate, north London, drinks maker Sacred has launched a trio of English vermouths.

Sacred English Dry vermouth is made with thyme, cloves and wormwood, while Sacred English Amber vermouth has notes of Spanish orange and vanilla. 

Finally, Sacred English Spiced vermouth is made with wormwood, stone fruits and thyme, and spiced with cinnamon and cloves.


The Macallan launches Edition No.6

The Macallan has unveiled 48.6% ABV Edition No.6, a new limited-edition single malt whisky celebrating The Macallan Estate and the 7River Spey.

Marking the sixth and final release in The Macallan Edition Series, Edition No.6 brings together The Macallan’s Ghillie, Robert Mitchell; Hardy, the world’s most renowned fly-fishing brand; and The Atlantic Salmon Trust, which has more than 50 years’ experience in salmon conservation.

“From its early days of whisky making almost 200 years ago, The Macallan has been strongly inspired by and intrinsically connected to nature. It is the force that flows through everything we do at The Macallan and our whisky is enriched by its powerful presence,” Steven Bremner, The Macallan whisky maker, said. “Edition No.6 is inspired by the natural world surrounding our Distillery, which has so much to offer and enjoy, in particular the River Spey, which is so vibrant, and full of energy.

“This complex single malt provides the perfect conclusion to the Edition Series as there is so much to discover in this whisky. 

“The natural colour of antique brass derived from The Macallan’s exceptional oak casks indicates the richness of flavour that awaits and there is a structure and depth that is uncovered more and more over time.”



Thatchers introduces Rosé Cider on draught 

Thatchers has introduced its Thatchers Rosé on draught for the first time following a successful off-trade launch in 2019.

“With a growing number of loyal purchasers throughout the UK, now is the right time to bring Thatchers Rosé out of the fridge and onto the bar,” Rob Sandall, on-trade sales director at Thatchers said.

“This is an opportunity for pubs and bars to offer Thatchers Rosé to drinkers who discovered it prior to and during lockdown and are now resuming their social experiences in the pub, with premium ciders they can trust to deliver on taste.

“Since the on-trade has reopened we have seen the thirst for cider continue in pubs with the category outperforming total alcohol.

“It’s now essential every outlet makes the most of the summer cider feel into Autumn with premium ciders that can demonstrate consumer appeal and help boost profits.” 


Sekforde unveils brand refresh 

Premium mixer brand Sekforde has revealed a brand refresh with a label redesign across its portfolio of four mixers.

Sekforde’s range includes four mixers which have been crafted to pair with whisky or bourbon, rum, gin or vodka and tequila or mezcal.

Each pour is 100% natural, low in sugar and under 36 calories.

“I started Sekforde mixers in 2017 because I felt there was a lack of great tasting quality mixers specifically crafted to pair with certain spirits,” founder, Talula White, commented. 

“Our portfolio was created to complement and not overpower the flavour of spirits and our rebrand is designed to communicate this and empower customers with a simple, great tasting solution to mixing.

“It is an exciting time in the mixer category. Fever-Tree has done a great job of premiumising the space and now we’re really seeing a lot of great innovations coming from brands as consumers look for new and exciting ways to mix their spirits beyond your traditional tonic water. 

“Sekforde mixers, particularly with our rebrand, is well positioned as this trend continues to gather pace and consumers look for great quality mixing alternatives.”


RedLeg Banana Rum launched 

RedLeg Rum Company has announced the launch of new RedLeg Banana Rum, the brand’s second flavour extension after RedLeg Pineapple and RedLeg Spiced.

The launch of the new 37.5% pour is accompanied by a label refresh across the RedLeg Rum range.

“Following the success of RedLeg Pineapple, which launched in Tesco stores in October 2019, we’re excited to introduce RedLeg Banana Rum to the family,” Sarah Kingsbury, marketing manager at RedLeg Rum, said.

“RedLeg Pineapple Rum has performed well in major retail and has recruited new drinkers to the RedLeg, delivering incremental sales for the brand. We’re confident that the launch of RedLeg Banana Rum will continue to build on this success.

“The introduction of a second flavour was the perfect time to refresh our look, which now demonstrates clear differentiation across the range while retaining RedLeg’s premium positioning.”


Red leg

Stonegate and Doom Bar team up for Cask Ale Week 

Stonegate Pub Company and Doom Bar are celebrating Cask Ale Week – Thursday 24 September to Sunday 4 October – by offering selected pub customers the chance to enjoy two-for-one on Doom Bar pints or win a staycation in Cornwall.

“Cask Ale Week is the perfect time for our teams and customers to celebrate the Great British Pub with the quintessential pub favourite, cask ale,” Alan Armstrong, director of marketing at Stonegate said. 

“All of our pubs are Cask Marque accredited, as we believe that the perfect pint it as much to do with the perfect serve, as it is to do with the ale.

“We’re delighted to be teaming up with Doom Bar and offering such a fantastic giveaway too. Rock is a wonderful place for a staycation, and I look forward to congratulating our lucky winner.”

Doom bar

Aston Manor unveils vodka-based hard seltzer  

UK cidermaker, Aston Manor, has revealed Sol Duc, a trio of low-calorie, alcoholic hard seltzers.

Available in three flavours – Strawberry & Lime, Raspberry & Rose and Rhubarb & Ginger – Sol Duc’s 5% ABV, 95 calorie pours combine sparkling water, a dash of pure vodka and natural fruit flavours.

What’s more, they contain no added sugar, sweetener, or colours, and are suitable for anyone following a gluten-free or vegan diet.  

“Consumers more than ever are seeking balanced options to support their lifestyle, but with this, the expectation for full flavour and no compromise still stands,” Calli O’Brien, marketing controller at Aston Manor said. “They want transparency and honesty in their products, with great taste to boot. We’ve achieved this with Sol Duc and can’t wait to see the consumer reaction when it launches. 

“We are well-placed to diversify our product range, especially with a hard seltzer. 

“Through our transatlantic relationship with the Seattle Cider Company, which is based in Washington, we have gained invaluable insight and understanding of the hard seltzer category following its phenomenal success in the US. 

“With Sol Duc we’re aiming to emulate that success in the UK.”

Sol Duc

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