Pernod Ricard, the maker of Absolut Vodka, and Coca-Cola, the owner of Sprite, have teamed up to create a new product that combines the two popular drinks in a convenient and ready-to-enjoy format. The Absolut & Sprite canned cocktail will be launched in select European markets, including Britain, the Netherlands and Spain, from early 2024.
The drink will be available in two versions: with Sprite and Sprite Zero Sugar. The cans will feature two of the world’s most recognizable trademarks, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.
The partnership aims to cater to the preferences of Absolut Vodka and lemonade enthusiasts, who can now sip their preferred cocktail from a can without having to mix it themselves. The drink is also expected to appeal to consumers who are looking for convenience, quality and variety in the growing alcohol ready-to-drink (RTD) category.
The alcohol RTD category is the fastest growing spirits category in the world
According to industry tracker IWSR, the alcohol RTD category is the fastest growing spirits category in both revenue and volume, with a value expected to grow by $11.6 billion between 2022 and 2026. Volumes are expected to grow by 24% over the same period.
The category includes products such as pre-mixed cocktails, hard seltzers, flavored malt beverages and wine spritzers. The main drivers of growth are convenience, portability, moderation and innovation.
Vodka is one of the most popular bases for alcohol RTD products, accounting for 45% of the market share in 10 of the biggest markets, according to IWSR’s 2022 research. Lemon-lime soft drinks, such as Sprite, are one of the most popular mixers in pre-mixed cocktails.
The Absolut & Sprite canned cocktail is expected to leverage the strong brand equity and consumer loyalty of both Absolut Vodka and Sprite, as well as offer a refreshing and low-calorie option for drinkers.
Coca-Cola and Pernod Ricard expand their presence in the alcohol RTD space
The collaboration between Coca-Cola and Pernod Ricard marks another step in their expansion into the alcohol RTD space, which has seen increased competition and innovation in recent years.
Coca-Cola, which launched a partnership with Jack Daniels whiskey last year, has been pushing further into alcohol, often via such partnerships, amid the growing popularity of pre-mixed cocktails in a number of key markets.
“We are expanding in the alcohol RTD space, including products that use select brands from our core portfolio,” said James Quincey, CEO and chairman of Coca-Cola. “We are excited about our new relationship with Pernod Ricard and look forward to the introduction of Absolut & Sprite.”
Pernod Ricard, which owns other brands such as Jameson whiskey, Beefeater gin and Malibu rum, has also been investing in the alcohol RTD category, launching products such as Kahlua Nitro Cold Brew and Beefeater London Dry Gin & Tonic.
“Sprite is a wonderful pairing for Absolut, and I’m convinced that our joining forces will bring the whole alcohol RTD category to the next level,” said Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard.
The announcement did not say when the Absolut & Sprite drinks would hit the U.S. market or other regions.