Diageo to expand US RTD operations as Heineken launches Pure Piraña hard seltzer across Europe

US – UK-based alcoholic beverages giant Diageo is expanding its US ready-to-drink (RTD) operations as part of efforts to support its growth strategy in the rapidly expanding category.

Consiquently, Diageo’s new Plainfield, Illinois site will be expanded to a tune of US$80 million.

According to a statement from Diageo, the expansion project will include the installation of two high-speed can lines with the capacity to produce over 25 million cases of RTDs per year.

Products to be produced at the Plainfield site include Smirnoff seltzers and Diageo’s newly-launched spirits-based RTD cocktails under its Crown Royal and Ketel One Botanicals brands.

“As the ready-to-drink category continues to grow rapidly in the US, this expansion is very exciting as it will support our plans to meet increased consumer demand in line with emerging trends for convenient formats that are ideal for casual and at-home occasions,” said Debra Crew, president of Diageo North America.

Once open, the 225,000 square-foot site will employ approximately 50 full-time employees.

“The strategic location of the new site, near our warehouse and Plainfield bottling operation, will allow Diageo to create synergies and the flexibility to expand and carry other market-leading brands in the future,” said Perry Jones, president of North America supply for Diageo.

Diageo unveils limited-edition Cîroc Summer Citrus

In addition to expanding its RTD capabilities, Diageo’s introduced its latest limited-edition of Cîroc Vodka brand in the form of Cîroc Summer Citrus.

According to the company, Cîroc Summer Citrus is a gluten-free spirit made using vodka distilled from French grapes and infused with a blend of citrus flavours.

The seasonal offering opens with a nose of blood orange and ‘tangy’ citrus, with hints of lime zest, and is said to culminate in “a velvety-smooth finish,” the company said.

Heineken launches hard seltzer Pure Piraña across

Meanwhile in Europe, Dutch beer manufacturing giant Heineken is launching its Pure Piraña hard seltzer in Europe, following a successful trial in Mexico and New Zealand.

The hard seltzer will initially be available in Austria, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain; with other markets such as the UK following throughout the year and into 2022. 

The ‘fruit-but-not-sweet’ drink comes in at 92 calories per can and will be available in three flavors: lemon lime, red berries and grapefruit.

Heineken wants to leverage the “beautiful simplicity of its hard seltzer, crafted with carbonated purified water and a dash of natural flavouring” to tap into a ‘modern generation of consumers’.

The launch in Europe comes after a successful launch in in Mexico and New Zealand in September last year.

Unlike U.S. where the category is experiencing meteoritic success, in Europe, the category is just starting to emerge.

Apart from Heineken, other Big Beer companies have also started to explore the potential of the hard seltzer category.

Carlsberg has already launched its Garage Hard Seltzer in Norway while Molson Coors is experiencing some level of success with its Three Fold hard seltzer in the UK.

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