Czech brewer launches malt RTD

Related tags Plzensky prazdroj Beer

Plzenskly Prazdroj, part of the SABMiller group, has launched a low
alcohol lemon-apple flavoured malt drink onto the Czech market, the
first of its kind.

Frisco​ will, according to the company, be launched in bars and clubs firstly and through the course of the year its distribution will be gradually expanded to restaurants and retail outlets.

Plzensky Prazdroj is entering the RTD market for the first time and in doing so is breaking into a new market segment that is to date completely undeveloped in the Czech Republic.

"We operate in the environment, which in no way could be described as an isolated beer market - it is a complex beverage market that is dramatically changing,"​ said Steve Woodward, managing director of Plzensky Prazdroj​. "We took an opportunity in a segment that, in our opinion, has promising potential. As Czech market leader we have to have answers for new challenges and to offer our consumers such innovations."

The company says that Frisco has been inspired by the growing popularity of similar drinks abroad. It took Plzensky Prazdroj several years to develop Frisco and all of its characteristics, including taste, carbonation, and the original bottle design.

"Frisco is not a beer, even though a part of the production procedure is similar to that of beer brewing,"​ Martin Kudela, Frisco brand manager, explains. Like most alcoholic beverages, the basis for Frisco's production is barley malt. However, instead of hops, high-quality natural aromatics are added to the malt. The company says that it is this combination of malt and fruit that gives the drink its unique taste.

Frisco is mainly designed for people who like to drink light alcoholic beverages or cocktails. "With its light flavour, it will appeal primarily to women, but also to anybody who likes to try something new," says Kudela added.

The company also says that the drink will only be sold in the Czech Republic. "This is because other SABMiller affiliates are already selling a similar product in Europe, so obviously our company does not want to encroach on sales markets belonging to the rest of the group,"​ said company spokesperson Alexej Bechtin. "We identified this segment as being particularly active and drawing from the experience of our SABMiller colleagues in other markets and launched the product after extensive research.

"The selling point is its unique positioning. It is not a beer and it is not a conventional RTD either. However, because of the ingredients it allows us to market the product at a particularly competitive price, making it more affordable,"​ added Bechtin.

The drink is distinguished by its clear gold colour and its modern bottle with a twist-off cap, which allows for easy opening. It has been sold in the Czech Republic since the beginning of May 2004 - primarily in clubs and bars in the larger towns and cities. It has a 4.5 per cent alcohol content, is distributed in 0.33l bottles and has a recommended retail price of CZK 22-25 (€0.70 - €0.80)for supermarket chains.

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