Diageo bins brands the public aren't ready to drink

Diageo has axed its Quinn's RTD brand just a year after its launch.

The move follows a review of recent innovation initiatives by the spirits giant which has also resulted in the end of the line for Archers Vea and Slate 20.

The premium clear Scotch J&B - 6C is also being dropped in the UK though it will remain in international markets.

Liz Finn, recently-appointed head of innovation at Diageo GB, said Quinn's had failed to make the grade in sales despite a £8.5 million marketing budget which included TV advertising.

Quinn's was heralded as the first in a new category of "fruit ferment" RTDs made from fermented fruit juice rather than with a spirit base.

"We're disappointed because we did have high hopes for it, but it hasn't worked," said Finn.

She admitted that it may have been an error for Diageo to launch the Slate 20 RTD in the UK, when its parent Bourbon brand was unheard of outside the Australian market.

"With hindsight, we realised how hard it was to create a new brand in that category. The consumer insight was that young male consumers want a more masculine ready-to-drink product, and I still stand by that."

She added that J&B -6C "hasn't hit our success criteria in GB", and that it had been a struggle to communicate Vea's reduced-sugar product story to target female consumers.

Finn indicated that rum was one area that could see a future UK launch, with Diageo-owned Venezualan run Pampero just one option that's being looked at.

"We have rum brands in other parts of the world and we watch how they're doing. It's a question of how rum is going to develop and we don't yet know. People talk about it as if it's the next big thing but we don't know. But it's certainly a category we're very interested in."