Allied Domecq, the UK-based wine and spirit group, has extended the distribution of its Fruja fruit liqueur brand in the US after a highly successful trial of the product.
The drink was launched in selected US markets in September by Allied's Hiram Walker unit, and has been well received by the drinking public, the company said. The brand comes in three varieties - Fruja Mango, Fruja Raspberry and Fruja Tangerine - and is designed to help 'jazz up' traditional cocktails.
"We know what consumers are drinking; we have seen the need for more innovation in the flavoured liqueur category; and we are responding by introducing products like Fruja to the marketplace," said Simon Cunningham, executive vice president for marketing at Allied Domecq Spirits North America.
Fruja was first launched in selected on-trade outlets across the US towards the end of last year, and the nationwide rollout to more than 10,000 on-trade outlets and 4,000 off-trade stores is designed to tie in with the key cocktail consumption period - the spring and summer. The drink will also be available in a number of nationwide restaurant chains.
Craig Johnson, group brand director in charge of innovation at Allied Domecq USA, said: "Our initial launch market success has proven our consumer research correct: bartenders are demanding liqueurs that taste 'juicy and not candy sweet' and consumers love the idea of a 'fresh and fruity drink.' Fruja is our answer."
The decision to expand the Fruja range to the US market as a whole was driven by the growing demand for quality fruit flavoured liqueurs which offer more than just the traditional cocktail mixer. While they can indeed be used as mixers, the company said that Fruja had been designed to offer a range of other drinking occasions, and the liqueurs can be served straight, on the rocks or prepared as a frozen drink.
The Fruja range is not yet sold in Europe, but the trend in recent years has been for cocktail innovations originating in the US to rapidly cross the Atlantic and filter into the trendy bars and nightclubs across the Continent - and with its extensive distribution in Europe, Allied Domecq could certainly make a major splash with such a brand. One to watch, it seems.