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    Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I enters RTD alcohol market with Japanese brand -196

    Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland (SBF GB&I), producer of Lucozade and Ribena, has announced its expansion into the ready-to-drink alcohol market with the launch of Japanese RTD brand -196 (minus one-nine-six) in Great Britain. The company will launch two flavours of the brand, Lemon and Grapefruit, both with six per cent alcohol content.

    Since its launch by Suntory Holdings in Japan in 2005, -196 has been a well-established canned RTD alcohol brand in the country and continues to grow in popularity. Following successful launches in Australia (2021) and China (2023), this year the brand sees further global expansion to Great Britain, Germany, the US and Southeast Asia.

    The -196 brand name is a reference to the use of Suntory’s proprietary freeze crush infusion technology. This unique process freezes the whole fruit by using liquid nitrogen at -196°C and the frozen zest, pulp and juice are then crushed into powder and infused with vodka. The brand brings something new and different to the RTD alcohol category in Great Britain, combining a traditional Japanese spirit with modern technology to deliver an exciting new taste and experience for consumers.

    “This launch marks a significant move for us into the ready to drink alcohol market and is part of a much bigger strategy for portfolio growth,” said Carol Robert, Chief Operating Officer at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I. “We’re very proud of our Japanese heritage and honoured to be launching one of Suntory’s iconic brands in our business for the first time.”

    Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I enters RTD alcohol market with Japanese brand -196

    RTD is the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage category globally, which witnessed an average growth rate of approximately 20 per cent through 2020-2022. Growth is expected to continue, with the global market size estimated to exceed US$50 billion (£39.2 billion) by 2030. One of the most popular RTD alcohol brands in Japan, SBF GB&I’s launch of -196 is a key opportunity for its future portfolio growth in this category. 

    “It’s our first step into alcohol but with years selling some of the UK’s most popular soft drinks and the continued strong performance of our brands, we know we can make it success,” said Alpesh Mistry, Sales Director at Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I. “We have a number of people in our business who bring great previous experience of the alcohol market, so know we’re in a strong position to bring this exciting launch to consumers.”

    SBF GB&I is inspired by its “Yatte Minahare” company value which drives it to innovate with a spirit of bold ambition, seek out challenges and find new opportunities to create rich experiences for its consumers.

    -196 will be launching in Great Britain from April.

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