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Diageo files 'pourable slush' patents for RTD cocktails

By Ben Bouckley , 04-Dec-2012

Diageo has filed patents in a range of nations detailing a formulation process for alcoholic cocktails, sold in bottles at ambient temperatures then frozen by consumers to form a ready-to-serve pourable slush.

In its application, submitted in Australia, Canada, the EU and Japan last December, and South Korea and Russia in 201, the multinational said that a “clear opportunity” existed for ready-to-serve slush beverages that were pourable after freezing using a range of domestic freezer temperatures.

“The formulations benefit from being able to be served from a semi-rigid bottle, giving the impression of being a beverage unlike other ‘pouch’ products on the market, which can appear cheap and undesirable to consumers who wish to feel they have purchased a premium-quality branded cocktail,” the firm said.

‘Alcoholic soft ice’ issues

Describing frozen soft drinks and beverages as popular drink choices across many markets, Diageo said that traditional preparation methods were “quite tedious”, requiring the use of scrape-surface slush machines to produce small ice crystals, or blenders to reduce ice cubes to small ice particles.

Other products claiming to deliver a soft ice in a home freezer suffered from varying home freezer temperatures, Diageo said: failing to form ice in warmer freezers or over-hardening in colder ones.

The company referred to two previous patents relating to ‘alcoholic soft ice’ products that were not freely pourable but must be removed from containers using a spoon.

“Prior-art frozen soft ice formulations use stabilizers and gums (e.g. CMCs), which can impede pourability and have a negative organoleptic effect on frozen beverages,” the firm said.

Even if such products performed after adding heat, Diageo said, consumers were often disappointed since they expected the convenience of a ready-to-consume pourable frozen cocktail.

“The failure rate of such products can be as high as 40-50%, resulting in ultimate consumer rejection of such products,” the patent application reads.

Domestic freezers supplied temperatures that were beyond the control of a beverage product developer, Diageo said, with almost all operating between -11C and -20C

Ice-nucleating ingredient

Its patent thus presents a formulation for a pourable slush beverage that would meet the acceptance standard for most domestic freezers and would be ready to consume straightaway once frozen.

The invention involves adding a prescribed amount of fructose (or other ingredient, depending on alcohol content) allowing the formulation of a slush beverage that will remain pourable in a freezer.

 “The formulation of the invention produces an ice content, such that the product, once frozen at a steady-state temperature, is a pourable slush.”

Optionally, Diageo said, an ‘ice-nucleating’ ingredient – preferably stigmasterol – could be added as an inessential but desirable ingredient, since the melting temperature of the formulation may be close to the warmest freezer temperature, where an ice nucleator further enhances ice formation.

You can read Diageo Great Britain’s patent application in full here, via the Patentscope database of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPA).

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