Aug 06

Brandwatch: Smirnoff Source

FT + Pumpkin Publog8 comments • 3,609 views

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.)


  1. 1
    Pete Baran on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Brings a whole new meaning to being on the sauce…

  2. 2
    CarsmileSteve on 31 Aug 2006 #

    i think you should copywrite that phrase in relation to this product as it’s likely to crop up in EVERY SINGLE MENTION of it ;)

  3. 3
    Sarah on 31 Aug 2006 #

    Have I already mentioned that Smirnoff Mule is BACK BACK BACK?? I can’t remember. But I’ve seen it advertised, though I am yet to see it in the fridges.

  4. 4
    Vicky on 31 Aug 2006 #

    my sister is coming back from Dallas for a bit, I might have to put a shopping list in….

  5. 5
    Pete Baran on 1 Sep 2006 #

    Sarah, I believe the Mule is back in as much as it is an easy mixed drink to make so Smirnoff are trying to get pubs to make pitchers and cocktails of them. Not sure if the bottled ones are back,back,back (and if so, coloured glass please, not sticky label).

  6. 6
    Brian T. on 17 Nov 2006 #

    Umm, I live in Texas, and I was at the Dallas party launch of Smirnoff Source last month. All the cool young 20some-30some hip Dallasites where all there! They are promoting the hell out of this drink, I’ve seen them girls run around the gay bars passing the “alcopops” around and seen ads skined on pay phones here.

    I did not know it was launched first here.

    Brian T.

  7. 7
    deanna williams on 23 Mar 2007 #

    I prefer the original Alcoholic Spring Water “DNA” Smart Water. Smirnoff are copying a brand that has been successful for 10 years.
    Shame on you Smirnoff!!!! Go DNA……

  8. 8
    colleen on 30 May 2007 #

    had it tonight and its wonderful!! i hate the taste of beer and the strong taste of alcohol makes me cringe. this stuff really goes down like WATER! props to smirnoff.

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