This month's Mintel Global New Product Database highlights the latest trend towards consuming alcoholic shots, a trend which seems particularly prevalent in the UK.

The Metz 40 line (a full-strength version of the ready-mixed Metz schnapps drink) from Bacardi-Martini is being renamed as Metz Shot to make it extra clear how it should be consumed. Originally launched in the UK at the end of 2000, Metz Shots are aimed at 18- to 24-year-old men, and are intended to compete directly with tequila shooters.

Another FAB (flavoured alcoholic beverages) line, WKD from Beverage Brands is also entering the shot market in the UK with 40 Shot (40% vol), in a 700ml bottle. Again this product is aimed at men who prefer straight shots or mixers and is available in two varieties Iron Brew and Blue.

The UK is also the scene for Allied Domecq‘s Magma Cinnamon Schnapps Liqueur with 24% ABV. It is strikingly similar to Maxxium's After Shock cinnamon liqueur which was first tested in the UK at the end of 1996.

In South Korea, unusually, the Sapporo Draft beer (rather than a spirit) is being made available in a 450ml "shot" bottle. Sapporo beer is said to be Japan's oldest brand of beer and is marketed as being ideal for today's active lifestyles.
Finally, confectionery is also cashing in on the popularity of shots with the Swedish launch from Stockholms Konfektyrfabrik of jelly confectionery shot glasses. Basically, these are shot glasses made from edible jelly. They can be stored in the freezer for better shape and are available in two colours, red and green. They come in packs of two.

Shot drinks, though, are not the only area to innovate with fun. In an effort to brighten up its image, Sektkellerei has introduced in Austria a 750ml bottle of Hochriegl Sekt, complete with a sachet of powdered "dye" around the neck. The powder needs to be poured into a glass to give a cherry red, pineapple yellow, bewitching peach/gold, creative blueberry purple or intensive kiwi green colour.

Meanwhile the Piper Champagne brand is following in the footsteps of Pommery. It is now being made available in France in convenient single serve bottles with a straw for drinking. Pommery#;s offering was originally test marketed in Sydney back in the Spring of 2000.
Another interesting development is continuing blurring of the boundary between ice cream and soft drinks this month. Slowly, ice cream is being positioned as a refreshing sweet snack, and we are also seeing more inventive packaging to prevent messiness or the need for a spoon. Past examples highlighting these developments include the Solero Shots from Unilever, sorbet spheres to be consumed as a crunchy drink. And more recently we reported on the German launch from Schöller of Load-Iced Energy, soft orange flavoured ice in novel 100ml plastic tubes that can simply be squeezed into the mouth. Now Solero has come up with something else. New in Germany is Solero Smoover, soft fruit sorbet in a plastic pouch with a plastic screw lid, which again simply needs to be squeezed into the mouth.

Finally in this months report we see juices continuing to compete with carbonated drinks. In the UK, the Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic juice is being made available in 250ml cans.