The brewer, Anheuser-Busch, and spirits group, Bacardi, are to join forces in the launch of a new "malternative" specialty alcohol drink, it has been announced. A-B will produce, market and distribute Bacardi Silver but Bacardi will provide the rum flavour for the drink and will be an equal joint partner in the project.

"With our trademark and the power that brings, and the strength of the A-B system, I think it's an unbeatable team," said Marcos Perez, vice president and director of Bacardi Beverage. Targeted at the 21-27 age range, the rum-and-citrus-flavored drink is designed to compete with brands such as Smirnoff Ice. It is expected to be available in stores in the US from mid-February.

The launch is to be backed by a $60 million marketing campaign to include TV, radio, press and poster advertising, as well as a website. "That's kind of what it takes, at least in our industry, to make a splash, sustain distribution, and to get the consumer to pull the product off the shelf," said Bob Lachky, vice president of brand management for Anheuser-Busch. "The stakes are high."