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New spirits products target ‘metrosexuals’

Spirits brands are launching products that appeal to “metrosexual urbanites” as part of a “last ditch” attempt to combat declines in western markets, one analyst has argued.

Johnnie Walker’s whisky moustache wax shows that spirits brands are targeting “metrosexuals”

According to Spiros Malandrakis, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor, brands such as Johnnie Walker are targeting so-called “hipster” Millenials with novelty launches.

As an example, Malandrakis identifies launches such as Johnnie Walker’s new whisky moustache wax – designed to complement the flavour of its Johnnie & Ginger serve – and Carlsberg’s beer-based beauty products.

Diageo’s Johnnie Walker has released a variety of such novelty launches in recent months. Last December, the brand partnered with men’s footwear specialist Oliver Sweeney to create a pair of brogues that can house a hidden bottle of whisky in their heels.

A few weeks previous, the brand partnered with Harris Tweed to create a unique tweed fabric infused with the smell of whisky.

However, Malandrakis claims that while such products demonstrate mainstream brands are “moving in the right direction” with regards to acknowledging the importance of Millenial consumers, such launches are “not enough” to tackle declines.

Of Johnnie Walker, Malandrakis said: “Overoptimistically succumbing to the now defunct emerging market mantra, the brand was being quietly left behind its Irish and American siblings as well as the myriad micro offerings in its core western markets.

“Volumes in North America and Western Europe both slumped by 3% in 2014 and the latest push for mixology inspired servings highlights the urgent need for a fresh positioning.”

As such, Malandrakis claims that brands must change both their “substance” and “appearance” to “re-establish relevance” with a younger demographic.

“Expanding occasions, flavour sophistication, mixology ideas and extended product lines will make or break key mainstream brands going forward,” he said.

Last year, India’s Officer’s Choice overtook Johnnie Walker to become the world’s best-selling whisky brand by volume.

According to The Spirits Business’s Brand Champions 2015 data, the Diageo-owned brand declined by 11% in 2014 to sales of 17.9m cases.

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