Plzenský Prazdroj, the Czech beer producer, has launched a low alcohol malt drink, the first non-beer product to be added to the company's portfolio.

SABMiller's Czech subsidiary said in a statement that the malt drink with a low alcohol content and a fine lemon-apple flavour, would be called  Frisco.

The drink is being rolled out into bars and clubs, with a gradual expansion to restaurants and retail network.

"We operate in the environment, which in no way could be described as isolated beer market - it is a complex beverage market that is dramatically changing. Therefore, we took an opportunity in one of its segments that, in our opinion, has promising potential," said Steve Woodward, managing director of Plzenský Prazdroj. "Our strategy is to continue strengthening our leading position in the domestic beer market and in particular to expand abroad in co-operation with SABMiller. As Czech market leader we have to have answers for new challenges and to offer our consumers such innovations as Frisco."

Frisco, the company said, was inspired by the growing popularity of similar drinks abroad. It Martin Kuděla, Frisco brand manager, said: "With its light flavor, it will appeal primarily to women but also to everybody who likes to try something new."