Suntory is aiming to create a premium segment in Japan's RTD market with the launch of a high-end range of canned cocktails.

The Japanese drinks group has joined forces with local fruit importer Ginza Sembikiya Co. to produce the Ginza Cocktail range. The drinks, set to be unveiled next month, will come in two flavours - melon and mango.

Suntory already sells 22m cases of canned low-alcohol drinks, or RTDs, with the majority of those sales taken up by the company's 'chuhai' stable, a range of alcoholic drinks that blend shochu spirits with fruit juice and carbonated water.

A Suntory spokesman told just-drinks today (24 August) that the impending launch was an attempt to tap into growing demand for premium drinks across all categories.

He said: "There is a bipolarisation trend in the Japanese market. The sales of premium beer, premium whisky, premium Champagne are increasing rapidly. There are no competitors in the premium canned low-alcohol market, so we try first."