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Bacardi ‘not proud’ of Plume and Petal marketing

Drinks firm Bacardi said it was “not proud” of using gendered marketing to promote its new low-alcohol range Plume and Petal after facing criticism on social media.

The Plume and Petal range is infused with fruit, tea and honey

The low-ABV Plume and Petal ‘vodka’ range is due to launch in the US on 1 August. The original press release for the collection said it had been created “specifically for women, by women” and is made with “half the alcohol of a standard vodka” at 20% ABV.

Plume and Petal has received backlash across social media, with consumers calling out the drinks firm for targeting women with a low-alcohol product. The range was described as “spa-inspired” and said to address the “real-life demands of modern women”.

In response to the criticism, a Bacardi spokesperson said: “Shelley Menze, our senior beverage scientist, set out to redefine the drink experience for her and her friends when hosting them at home. What started out as a personal, passion project turned into a unique brand that addresses a broader demand for low-calorie, low-alcohol alternatives.

“That being said, we are aware of the conversations on social media around the use of gendered language in a pitch. We’re not proud of that, but we are proud of the female creators behind this product – unfortunately, a rarity in this industry – and we are proud of this great-tasting drink.”

The range was created by Bacardi’s senior beverage scientist Shelley Menze, along with a predominantly female team, and took eight years to perfect. It was created to tap into the “mindfulness movement” with more than 65% of people drinking low- or no-alcohol drinks compared to a few years ago, the firm said.

Menze has worked at Bacardi for 11 years and has created a range of products for the firm, including rum, Tequila, vermouth and whisky.

‘Refreshing alternative to wine’

With the new line, Menze sought to “completely redefine the ‘girl’s night in’ drink experience with a refreshing alternative to wine that women could feel good about”. Menze found there was a “lack of mindful options” across spirits.

The range is made with 100% American grain gluten-free vodka that is distilled six times and infused with natural fruits, botanicals, teas and a hint of honey. It contains no artificial sweeteners and is available in three flavours: Cucumber Splash, Peach Wave and Lemon Drift.

Cucumber Splash is described as having the “natural, cool taste of cucumber, lemongrass and chamomile tea with a hint of honey”. The “fruit-forward” Peach Wave tastes of white peaches and lavender, along with black tea and a “rich mouthfeel” of honey.

Meanwhile, Lemon Drift offers natural lemon, elderflower, white tea and honey on the palate.

The product’s key serve is a Spritz, served in a wine glass over ice with soda water or sparkling water and garnished with fruit. At 83 calories, the serve contains 30% less calories than a glass of wine. The range can also be served neat over ice or mixed into a Punch or cocktails.

The Plume and Petal range is priced at US$19.99 per 750ml bottle.

The new line from Bacardi follows similar women-focused product launches over the last few years, including Diageo’s Jane Walker Edition, a female-inspired iteration of Johnnie Walker Black Label, and Pomp & Whimsy gin liqueur, which has been “tailored to the female palate”. Other examples include Heaven Hill’s flavoured whiskey brand Raven’s Lace Peachberry Whiskey and Brown-Forman’s low-­ABV spirit brand Lbd.

The 20% ABV Plume and Petal range was created “specifically for women, by women”

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