Another week, another new big idea from the drinks giants – Smirnoff Source is that holy grail of the alcopop sector, booze water. Or “alcoholic sparkling water” to give it its full title. Aside from the sparkling element yr reaction is obviously: OK, just add water to vodka. Except don’t, because it tastes very nasty. But there’s a flavour element here too – it’ll come in lemon and orange flavours, with hints of the fruit.

This could potentially solve a major problem with alcopops: they are, in general, way too sweet and sickly. On the other hand I liked the idea of lightly flavoured non-alcoholic water too (Evian Twist Of Lime or whatever its called) – which are all catastrophic because the sweeteners are so strong in the flavour, much beyond the fruit. Since just squeezing a lemon into a glass of water produces very refreshing and tasty results I’m not sure why this is so difficult to get right. But I digress.

There is potential for Smirnoff Source – if Diageo’s other big launch (the boozy smoothie Quinns) succeeds it’ll confirm to the industry that there’s a market for less sweet and more natural flavours in the world of booze-that-doesn’t-taste-like-booze. They’re talking up Source as a refreshing competitor for lager, not as a rival to alcopops, which may just be brandshare protection for Smirnoff Ice but is going in the right direction.

UK readers will have to wait a bit to find out if they’ve got it right as Smirnoff Source is only being launched in Texas. (Fact of the day: alcopops are called malternatives in the US. Ew.)

Pumpkin Publog