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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Coming to a Bar Near You in 2007: Sparkling Spirits

It must be that there just aren't enough bubbles in tonic or seltzer for some people. At least two companies are preparing to launch sparkling vodka, gin and perhaps other spirits in the United States during 2007.

International English Distillers already has a sparkling brand, Vodka O2, on sale in the United Kingdom and Canada. It plans to bring it the U.S. next year. U.K. drinks conglomerate Diageo is not far behind. They have found a way to add natural carbonation to vodka, gin, rum, whiskey and other spirits. It will be interesting to learn if Diageo has developed super yeast or if they have found another method. There has been no word on possible brand names or a launch schedule for Diageo's project.

There will certainly be an initial demand for these products created by the marketing hype of a "new" spirit category. However, the launch does raise more than a few questions. Do sparkling spirits really have long-term legs or are they a gimmick? Once the bottles are open, do they go flat if not consumed in one session? Are bartenders busy at this very moment coming up with recipes for fizzy navel? If you want bubbles aren't the 95 million in every bottle of Champagne sufficient? Would James Bond ever order a fizzy Martini?

I know the answer to the last one: It depended how much Diageo is willing to pony up to Metro Goldwyn Mayer for a product placement in the next flick.

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