You heard it here first - cider is now the new alcopop.
Smirnoff, the biggest spirits brand in Europe, is aiming to revolutionise the fruit cider category this summer with the launch of its new hybrid drink Smirnoff Cider - a mixture of lightly fizzed cider combined with Smirnoff vodka.
The ciders will come in two fruity flavours (below), Raspberry & Pomegranate and Passionfruit & Lime, and will be sold for £1.99 off-trade and at £4.50 in the on-trade.
The ciders will be available from mid-June, in a move it hopes will "take cider to the next level".
"There have been a number of innovations into the fruit cider category over the last few years, and as the market continues to grow in both the on- and off-trade channels, we still see that there is potential to grow the category even further," Claire O'Neill, innovation commercialisation manager at Diageo GB, said.
Smirnoff's move into the cider scene follows the successful launch of Pimm's Cider Cup in June 2015, which became the number one selling cider innovation after just eight weeks in the category.
Britvic's non-alcoholic bevy
In other news, fellow drinks company Britvic has launched a new super-premium "zero-proof" (i.e. non-alcoholic) drink: Thomas & Evans No. 1 (below).
Created by WiseHead Productions, an incubator company recently set up by Britvic, the new beverage will initially be available just in London and appeals to millennials, who are drinking less alcohol than other generations or choosing to drink none at all.
The proportion of young adults, between 16 and 24, who reported they did not drink alcohol grew by over 40 per cent between 2005 and 2013, according to an ONS survey in 2015.