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The Malt Beverage, Revisited: Diageo’s PABS—Progressive Adult Beverages—Offer Much-Needed Consumer Choice

Posted on  | March 28, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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What do you offer the consumer who doesn’t like high-proof cocktails, isn’t a fan of wine, appreciates the packaging ease of beer but wants more variety? Enter PABs—Progressive Adult Beverages—and Diageo is aiming to satisfy this consumer need with a host of new offerings.

“We understand that consumers are looking for a premium option in the PAB segment that offers the price and convenience of traditional beer, and we expect this line of products to be very popular with LDA consumers,” says Heather Boyd, Brand Director Progressive Adult Beverages, Diageo-Guinness USA. “Based on consumer trends we feel that Diageo’s PAB segment can deliver against the rising trend in this category.”

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Malt-based beverages don’t necessarily have a premium connotation, as a result of many low-quality offerings historically, but this new generation of products is different. “All Diageo PABs provide a smooth, refreshing and delicious alternative for consumers who may not enjoy the flavor of beer or the bite of hard liquor. They maintain a cleaner and smoother taste profile while staying true to the bold flavor our consumer enjoys,” says Boyd. Other attributes that make them popular: They are hugely convenient, and tap into the growing need for ready-to-drink cocktail options. “PABs don’t require any additional mixing so are great for on-the-go, outdoor events, and easy entertaining or just relaxing at home,” adds Boyd.  

While intended to appeal to a range of demographic groups, Diageo has noticed one particular group which seems to gravitate to them, according to Boyd:  “We’re seeing the 21-29 year age bracket driving the segment, particularly in the higher ABV offerings.”

Last Spring, Jeremiah Weed unveiled three PAB offerings in 12-oz. cans,  each with a distinctive Southern flair, clocking in at 5.8% ABV, just higher than most beer: Lightning Lemonade, a refreshing southern favorite; Roadhouse Tea, a non-carbonated beverage inspired by Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka; and Spiked Cola, with real cola taste and a hint of bourbon flavor ($7.99 for a 12-oz. six-pack).   

And earlier this year, Smirnoff added a trio of diverse new PAB offerings: the lightly-carbonated Smirnoff Ice Tropical  Fruit (4.5% ABV); Smirnoff Signature Screwdriver, a refreshing take on the classic orange juice and vodka cocktail (5.8% ABV); and the less-sweet, higher-proof Smirnoff Ice Black (8% ABV).

“Parrot Bay Frozen Pouches [set to be released later this year] and Smirnoff Signature Screwdriver both meet the increasing consumer demand for cocktail-inspired malt beverages, and we have high expectations for Smirnoff Ice Black, given the popularity of higher ABV malt beverages,” says Boyd. “Diageo continues to be an innovation industry leader; innovation that not only satisfies consumers, but also delivers value to our wholesale and retail customers.”


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