The firm said the new products aim to capitalise on the spirit-flavoured beer category while taking further steps into the growing low ABV segment.
Said to be a ‘Mojito-inspired’ twist on the tequila-flavoured original, Desperados Verde is bottled at 4.7% ABV – a reduction on the original beer’s 5.9% ABV.
Heineken claims the new product’s lower ABV will help “broaden the brand’s drinking occasions”.
With the launch of Desperados Verde, Heineken UK on-trade managing director Lawson Mountstevens said the company aims to “keep pace with the expectations of young adult drinkers”, who he said prefer sweeter tastes.
Spirit beers sales are forecast to be worth £400m to the UK on- trade by 2016.
“Heineken recognises that palates are changing, with consumers increasingly opting for sweeter flavours and lighter tastes,” said Mountstevens.
“We have seen an explosion of flavour innovation across both the cider and spirits categories and are beginning to witness a similar pattern with flavoured beers.”
Quoting figures from CGA, Heineken claims its Desperados brand has grown 70% by value in the last year and predicts that the ‘spirit beers’ sub-category as a whole will continue to grow.
The firm expects the segment to generate sales of £400 million in the UK on-trade in 2016.
The launch of Desperados Verde was accompanied by the news that Heineken has expanded its Foster’s Radler range.
The 2% ABV Cloudy Lemon-flavoured Foster’s Radler was introduced to the UK on-trade in 2013 and the range has now been expanded to offer a 0% ABV Cloudy Lemon variant and 2% ABV Foster’s Radler with Lime & Ginger.
The extended Radler range will be promoted from May by a multi-million pound ad campaign set to include TV, print and outdoor advertising as well as sampling activity and digital marketing.
The expansion to Heineken’s low ABV beer range has been mirrored in the cider category with additions to its Bulmers range (see page 12), and Mountstevens said Heineken is confident in the future of the category.
“We believe the moderation segment could represent as much as 5% of total cider and beer volumes in the UK within ten years,” he said.
“By extending the Foster’s Radler range to include a refreshing new Lime & Ginger variant and a 0% ABV alternative to the lemon flavoured original, we are widening consumer choice and encouraging more people to try our market leading moderation products.”