US: Pouch packaging takes off for alcoholic drinks
Wine, flavoured malt drinks and premixed cocktails are among alcoholic drinks being packaged in a squeezable pouch, with Nielsen reporting that sales of alcoholic drinks in a pouch increased 153% in a year.
The trend took off this American summer, spurred by newly-introduced pouch versions of big brands such as Smirnoff and Arbor Mist. And pouch drinks are making rapid distribution gains in grocery stores, according to SymphonyIRI Group. While distribution is lower at drug and convenience stores, chains such as Walgreens have begun stocking pouch brands in coolers at some stores.
"All the companies are jumping on board," said Megan Metcalf, editor of Wine & Spirits Daily.
One of the biggest entrants to the category is liquor giant Diageo, which this summer began national distribution of Parrot Bay- and Smirnoff-branded pouches containing fruity malt-beverage drinks meant to be frozen and squeezed into a glass or cup. The single-serve 10-ounce pouches retail for $1.99 and are positioned as a no-mess way to enjoy fancy bar drinks at home.
They also save time. "If you think about making mixed drinks, in a lot of markets you need to go to the liquor store for one ingredient, you need to go to the grocery store for another, you need to pull out the blender," said Patrick Hughes, Diageo's brand director overseeing frozen-pouch marketing.
Most brands don't have traditional media dedicated for the pouches, but have added some in-store and below-the-line marketing for the new packaging. An example is Arbor Mist, which features a video contrasting the laborious blender-mixing method against the freeze-squeeze-and-pour ease of a pouch.
The pouch craze has been under way for some time across consumer packaged goods, including for baby food brands such as Gerber, which is marketing them as a way for toddlers to "self-feed".
Campbell Soup, meanwhile, is seeking to win over millennials with new soup pouches called "Campbell's Go". Part of the pouch appeal is that it "reduces the amount of materials that are required for the packaging," said John Kalkowski, editorial director of Packaging Digest. And "it also gives you a pretty good surface for advertising, for marketing the product."
Still, some booze marketers think pouches are more fad than fixture. "We tried this packaging once with Tropical Freezes in 1995 and the product was not a success," said a spokesman for Jack Daniel's maker Brown-Forman, which has no plans to take the pouch plunge "any time in the near future.".....