Click through to view the expanded Dead Crow stable

Click through to view the expanded Dead Crow stable

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SHS Drinks has dropped the rum-flavoured Cuvana beer and brought it under an expanded Dead Crow brand as it targets the so-called “spirit-beer” category in the UK.

The move, announced today (17 April), sees the Bourbon-flavoured Dead Crow add a rum variant to its stable as Cuvana is phased out. The two flavours have been repackaged in a Dead Crow redesign and will be supported by a marketing campaign, SHS said.

“The two initial flavours have proved to be popular - hence our retaining both variants - but consumer feedback over the past 15 months has shown Dead Crow to be a striking, distinctive, memorable and highly compelling brand proposition," Mark Hopper, head of innovation & brand development at SHS Drinks, said. "We have, therefore, taken the decision at this stage to move forward with Dead Crow.”

The 5.5% abv beers will roll out from the middle of this month, with UK on-pack promotions expected to appear later in the year.

Dead Crow and Cuvana were released in January last year to take on the UK's spirit-beer category leader, Heineken's Tequila-flavoured Desperados. Since then, Anheuser-Busch InBev has also entered the category, with last month's unveiling of the rum-flavoured Cubanisto.

SHS said its two lines have generated GBP1.2m (US$2m) in sales in a category estimated to be worth around GBP123m in annual sales.

“Our own forecasts support predictions that sales will reach around GBP400m within the next two years,” Hopper said.

To read a comment on spirit-beer in the UK, and similar “near-beer” products in the US, click here.