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Top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2023: 50-41

A non-alcoholic spiced ‘rum’ and a Ukrainian vodka all feature in the first instalment of our top 50 most innovative spirits launches of last year.

Top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2023- 50-41 sm
2023 saw a number of innovative releases in the spirits industry

Last year saw a huge number of innovative products take off in the market.

From a duo of historic whiskies to a side-step for an established ready-to-drink brand, last year was a standout year for innovation.

In the first round-up of inventive bottlings as part of The Spirits Business’s annual top 50 innovative spirits list, we select the spirits tapping into the latest trends and shaking up their respective categories.

Keep scrolling to see the first part of our top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2022, counting down from 50 to 41.

50. Ardbeg The Rollercoaster

Ardbeg Rollercoaster scotch whisky bottles

Ardbeg has come a long way since production was halted in 1981. To mark its return to glory, the Islay distillery released two whiskies, one distilled in 1981, the other in 1989, when it reopened under new ownership. The bottlings are meant to capture Ardbeg’s highs and lows. With only 143 sets available, the whiskies are a time capsule.

49. Altos Infusionado

Altos Tequila Citricos bottle and cocktail

In October, Pernod Ricard-owned Altos Tequila launched a range dubbed Altos Infusionado. The announcement came with two flavoured expressions: Cítricos, which features mandarin and lemon; and Café Natural, which has notes of coffee, cinnamon, and Mexican piloncillo, a raw form of pure cane sugar.

48. Sierra Tropical Chilli

Sierra Tropical Chili

In April, Borco announced Sierra Tropical Chilli, a low-ABV Tequila-based drink infused with tropical fruits. The 18% ABV drink is meant to be served as a shot, with flavours of mango, passion fruit and a hint of chilli. The product launched in Germany in March, before reaching UK supermarket Tesco in July.

47. Bacardí Mango Chile

Bacardí Mango Chile

After initial success in Mexico, Bacardí took its Mango Chile expression to the US in May. The rum was inspired by the sweet and spicy flavours of a popular Mexican snack, where fresh mango is sprinkled with Tajín seasoning and lime juice. It is the eighth flavour in Bacardí’s portfolio.

46. Captain Morgan 0.0

Captain Morgan 0.0%

In August Diageo launched its first non-alcoholic dark ‘spirit’ – Captain Morgan 0.0, an alcohol-free version of the brand’s Original Spiced Gold rum. The innovation team took more than two years, and went through more than 400 recipes to develop the product, which joins Tanqueray 0.0% and Gordons 0.0% in Diageo’s non-alcoholic portfolio.

45. Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend

In 2019 Beam Suntory introduced Legent, a wine and Sherry-aged Bourbon from Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe and Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo. The spirits giant upped the ante in 2023, with a limited edition 57% ABV expression of the whiskey, finished in Sherry casks that were previously used to mature Yamazaki Japanese whisky.

44. Lex by Nemiroff

In September Ukrainian brand Nemiroff introduced this vodka, boasting a 13-stage filtration process that includes silver, platinum, shungite, and amber. Made with wheat from the Podilla region in Eastern Europe, water from local springs, honey from local apiaries, and linden flowers, the vodka is encased in French-made perfume glass and initially available in travel retail.

43. White Claw Premium Vodka

White Claw vodka

Hard seltzer giant White Claw made its first move outside of the ready-to-drink category with a vodka, made from 100% American grain, and distilled five times. This is the first ‘triple wave filtered vodka’, a process that uses pressure equal to three 30-foot waves to enhance the spirit’s taste, aroma and smoothness.

42. Grey Goose Classic Martini Cocktail

Grey Goose Martini

In April, Grey Goose became the first major vodka brand to release a bottled Martini. With an ABV of 35%, the 750ml bottle combines Grey Goose vodka, dry French vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters, and makes between eight and 10 drinks. Simply stir or shake a 75ml measure for 30 seconds with ice.

41. Ardbeg BizarreBQ

Ardbeg BizarreBQ

Dr Bill Lumsden is in constant pursuit of flavour innovation, and landed upon classic barbecue notes for this limited edition single malt. The director of whisky creation used an experimental cask-toasting process, double-charred oak casks, Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks, and the distillery’s unique barbecue casks that have been extra-charred on an old-fashioned brazier.

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