This month, Mintel's Global New Product Database reports on innovations from across the drinks industry from beer, where Scottish & Newcastle is making strides in packaging, to carbonates, where the growth of the Hispanic market continue to influence new product development.

This month Mintel's GNPD begins from within the brewing industry, a category not known for its innovation compared to other drinks sectors. However, this summer, Scottish & Newcastle is gearing up for the barbecue season with a novel packaging concept for the Foster's brand, which it holds the rights to in the UK. The new CoolKeg product comprises a 60 second, self-cooling and self-dispensing, 35-pint keg of beer. The cooling system works because of a natural reaction between the mineral zeolite and water, which are both contained in separate layers in the keg's lining. Once the keg has been chilled, it remains cold for up to 12 hours without the need to be stored in the fridge. Consumers will have to pay a £30 refundable deposit for each keg, as it is returned to the brewery to be refilled before being redistributed on the market.

The other UK beer launch seems to be aimed at younger consumers. New from Kronenbourg is Deco, a beer and absinthe drink concept comprising a small bottle of Kronenbourg larger with a shot of absinthe attached. The 45% ABV absinthe is to be drunk first, and then the 5% ABV lager is to be drunk as a chaser.

Meanwhile in Germany, Tuborg beer is being made easier to carry to and from stores with the introduction of a plastic device onto which consumers can clip the top of beer cans. The device holds up to eight full or empty beer cans, and has primarily been developed to encourage consumers to return empty cans to stores for recycling.

By comparison the RTD market is no stranger to innovation and while vodka and rum remain the most popular spirits used in this sector, developments in the Asian market could inspire the use of newer spirits. For example, two recent introductions in Thailand use rice wine. Holly Hock from Chantal Comte is made with a blend of rice wine and blueberry juice, and Sato'za from Sato Foods Industries is made with rice wine and tropical fruit juice.

Soft drinks too continue to be influenced by different cultures and in the US several beverages from major manufacturers are hitting shelves specifically targeted at the emerging Hispanic and Latino market. SoBe (Pepsico) is presenting Fuerte, a mango and passionfruit beverage packaged with Spanish labeling containing the phrase "SoBe Tu Mismo" translating to "SoBe Yourself." The beverage also contains herbal extracts including yerba mate and guarana. It is the company's first beverage targeted at the market and is available in San Diego, Texas, and South Florida. Also being released is Clamato Energia, a non-carbonated vegetable-based energy drink from Mott's (Cadbury-Schweppes). The tomato-based drink contains 30% juice along with ginseng, taurine, guarana, and B vitamins.

The giants in the carbonates market have done much recently with regard to flavour innovations. We have seen major flavour extensions for cola brands such as lemon and vanilla flavoured Coca-Cola, and lemon and berry flavoured Pepsi. Now, the lemonade segment is receiving the same treatment. Coca-Cola's lemon and lime Sprite brand for example has now been introduced in Belgium and France with a touch of mint. To differentiate the variety from the original product it is packaged in a blue rather than green-coloured plastic bottle, and is named Sprite Ice Cube.

The hot beverages sector also continues to develop. In South Africa, Khoisan Tea is attempting to target children with its latest flavoured rooibos tea range. The range includes some fun and interesting varieties such as Bubbly Gum and Vanilla Gorilla. Rooibos is a naturally caffeine-free tea variety grown in South Africa, with a sweet taste and low tannins.

For hot beverage drinkers on the go, Uncle T Foods has rolled out its UCC The Blend Instant Coffee Travel Pack in a Taste No. 114 variety. It features two cups, two packs of creamer, two packs of instant coffee mix, two packs of sugar and two individually wrapped stirring tools that can be clipped onto the side of the cup to prevent losing them in the coffee. All of the components are packed in the cups, which are enclosed by a plastic lid that should be discarded before use.

Still on coffee, the Mr Coffee brand is familiar to many in the US, where the brand, owned by Sunbeam Products, has been making coffee pots, filters, and espresso machines for many years. But up until now it has never made coffee. However, in conjunction with Creative Marketing Group, the brand will now produce regular and decaf ground coffee in supermarkets, club and convenience stores, and mass merchandise outlets.