The announcement that Carlton & United Breweries is launching its first RTD in what it says is 25 years comes after major growth in the seltzer sector in the Unites States which has seen Australian brewers ramp up production, in the major and independent sectors.
CUB already owns Brookvale Union under the 4 Pines brand, which released a Vodka Peach Iced Tea last year. Also last year CUB’s big brewing competitor Lion launched what it called a ‘first of its kind’ hard seltzer in Quincy, following the success of White Claw in the US.
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Carlton & United Breweries has responded to consumer demand for natural, low calorie drinks by launching its first white spirit premix since the now iconic Sub Zero 25 years ago.
Actual Vodka Seltzer is Carlton & United Breweries first ever hard seltzer beverage, predicting the category’s phenomenal growth in the US recently will be repeated in Australia.
Actual Vodka Seltzer is one of the lowest-calorie ready-to-drink vodka on the Australian market and is made with 100% natural ingredients to a vegan recipe. There are two varieties, pure and lime. Pure has no sugar and just 65 calories, while lime is low in sugar and contains 69 calories.
Hard seltzer is alcoholic, low-calorie carbonated water. The category has recently become the drink of choice for millions of Americans, with on-premise sales growing five-fold in 2019 to $1.2 billion USD.
Actual Senior Marketing Manager Marc Lord said: “The hard seltzer market grew from nothing to become a multi-billion-dollar business in just five years in the United States. This is the next big thing here in Australia, and that’s why Carlton & United Breweries created Actual.
“Consumers now want simple, no-nonsense alcoholic drinks and that’s what Actual is. Standing in front of the RTD and craft beer fridges with thousands of flavours it’s hard to make a choice, so we’ve made it simple.”
“Australians are also becoming increasingly conscious of what they are drinking, so we think the boom will be repeated here.”
“Actual is a simple drink of sparkling water and vodka, which results in low calories and low or no sugar. We know consumers needs are evolving faster than ever before, and we’re right there with them. Consumers are seeking lighter, more refreshing styles of alcoholic drinks. They still want to have a drink, but they don’t want the sugar or added ingredients.”
Carlton & United Breweries partnered with cultural experts VIRTUE, part of full-service agency VICE, with joint research showing younger consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious and are looking for honesty and transparency in drinks they consume.
“The results of the research led us to do something different, clearly calling out the ingredients on the front of the can and a commitment to being transparent in anything we do as a brand,” said Mr Lord.
“Actual will be enjoyed with friends at parties, festivals and out in the Aussie sun – once we’re all clear to go out together again. In the meantime, this is the perfect drink to enjoy in the backyard at home as an aperitif.”
VIRTUE client creative partner Matty Graham said: “Partnering with the CUB Innovation and Marketing team we had the rare and awesome opportunity to build the Actual brand from the ground up, starting with the product, packaging and visual DNA; right through to the launch creative and communications strategy – every step being informed by what we learned from our audience to help ensure Actual ticks all the boxes.”
Further research supports CUB’s view that Australian consumers are increasingly looking for a drink that promotes a cleaner lifestyle, with 54% of Australian shoppers looking for “low sugar” products on the shelves and 32% of shoppers looking for “low calorie”.
Actual Vodka Seltzer Vodka: 34 ml Sparking water: 266 ml Calories 65
Actual Vodka Seltzer and Lime Vodka: 34 ml Sparkling water: 250 ml Lime juice: 16 ml Natural lime flavour: 0.2 ml Calories: 69 calories
Both are one standard drink in a slimline can.
Actual is on sale now. Available at LiquorLand, Independent Liquor Stores and BoozeBud.
Actual joins Carlton & United Breweries growing RTD portfolio, alongside their brands Brookvale Union Ginger Beer, Brookvale Union Peach Ice Tea, Lexington Hill Espresso Martini and Lexington Hill Margarita.