Ampersand rtdNew releases

Is this Australia’s best RTD innovation yet?

An innovative new RTD design has been launched in Australia that promises to revolutionise the category. Contemporary vodka and gin spirits brand Ampersand has replaced cans with slick, lightweight, screw-top aluminium bottles.

Benefits of the new bottle shape include:

● Extra-wide mouth – to allow the addition of fresh garnishes such as lime.
● Re-sealable – you don’t have to consume the entire product at once.
● Eco-friendly material: made with virgin aluminium, which is one of the most eco-friendly beverage container options. Aluminium never loses its material strength, it can be recycled for years – 75% of aluminium ever produced is still in use today.
● It keeps the beverage colder for longer versus a can.

Ampersand’s suite of products – Vodka Soda &, BL&CK (Double Strength Vodka Soda &), Gin Soda &, and the wildberry flavoured Pink Gin Soda &, will all now be sold in the 355ml aluminium bottles. The new design innovation is the latest development for the Bondi-based beverage brand, co-founded in 2018 by Shaun Rankins, Alex Bottomley and Marcus Kellett.

“We see this as a game-changing innovation – nobody in Australia is doing this type of RTD alcoholic soda product in this bottle format,” explained Bottomley.

While the brand has always had high shelf awareness, the company wanted to go even further to stand out, so the founders spent the last 12 months in development for this new bottle innovation. The only drawback has been that the new design is much costlier to produce.

“It took a lot of hard work, but we did it as a direct response to our consumers’ needs – these new bottles bottles cost four times as much for us to produce than the standard can, but the initial feedback we had from our consumers, via social media messages, on our original design, with the complete pull-off lid, was that consumers really appreciated the feature of being able to add in their own garnishes and mixes via the wider top, so we decided it was worth the investment to create wide-top bottles – after we were unable to continue with the pull-off-lid cans due to our supplier going out of business during COVID – in order to deliver our consumers the best experience possible.”

Ampersand’s basic ‘spirit plus soda’ formula has been a hit with consumers seeking healthier alternatives – they can choose
to keep their drinks low-cal by using garnishes such as fresh berries, mint, or lemon, or opt for a more traditional sweet cocktail with flavoured fruit syrups, bitters, or additional alcoholic mixers.

It’s been an exciting few years for the company, which has not only expanded its RTD range, but also inked a deal with Woolworths in 2020 that saw the brand hit shelves of Dan Murphy’s and BWS nationwide.

“We’ve managed to tap into the current consumer hunger for lower calorie, lighter beverages, offering Australians what they’re craving with our ever-expanding range of lower-calorie vodka and soda, and gin and soda, options,” said Bottomley. “Alcoholic sodas and seltzers are heavily trending at social events in Australia as they’re the perfect fit for our outdoors-orientated market, and temperate climate, as well as in pubs, bars and clubs, as consumers look for less heavy drinking options for long days and nights on the town.”

Vodka Soda &, BL&CK, Gin Soda & and Pink Gin Soda & are now all available in aluminium bottles at Ampersand – in a 16-pack carton from $72.90 – and at selected independent bottle shops around Australia.

The next big thing in hard seltzer

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