Cocktails in cans tested in Florida

Canned cocktails might seem like a waste of good liquor at first glance. But, it's been working elsewhere in the world and Diageo thinks it stands a good chance here as well.

That's why the spirits industry giant is using the Tampa, FL, area to test market its 12-ounce canned ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails that contain the same alcohol content as most beers. Early returns on sales of the vodka-, rum- and whisky-based cocktails are favorable.

The flavors being tested:

• Captain Morgan and Cola
• Smirnoff Vodka and Lemon-Lime Soda
• George Dickel Whisky and Cola
• Seagram's 7 American Whiskey and Lemon-Lime Soda

"They're selling very well and we're pleased," said Bob Gibson, marketing director for the 150-store ABC Fine Wines. He told Advertising Age that Diageo plans to expand the test area and include an additional flavor featuring Crown Royal whiskey.

The drinks are 5 percent alcohol by volume and are packaged in 12-ounce cans, allowing their sale next to beer in convenience stores, gas stations and other retail outlets.

RTD cocktails have been accepted in numerous overseas markets. In Australia, Beam Global Wine & Spirits sells 7 million cases of its Jim Bean Bourbon Whisky and Cola annually. Here, the Diageo test is expected to run until next spring.

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