Absolut has announced plans to launch a new pre-mixed drink in Canada. Absolut Cut, the result of a new partnership between V&S Group and Interbrew, is a combination of lime, orange and mandarin with Absolut Vodka.

In a statement, Bengt Baron, president of V&S Absolut Spirits, said: "The market for pre-mixed drinks has developed at a rapid pace in the last few years and, with consumer preferences evolving, there is an opportunity for a more sophisticated product."

Labatt Breweries of Canada, an Interbrew subsidiary, will oversee all production and distribution of Absolut Cut locally. Maxxium Worldwide will continue to distribute Absolut Vodka in Canada and other international markets.

"V&S has, through extensive brand building expertise, created one of the world's greatest trademarks in Absolut. This, together with Labatt's unprecedented route to market, gives Absolut Cut a solid foundation for success in Canada," says Labatt president Stewart Gilliland.

"This launch is consistent with Labatt and Interbrew's strategy to forge partnerships that enable us to offer customers and consumers the preferred adult beverage for all relevant consumption occasions."

The new drink will initially be launched in selected markets within Canada in late April, with full, nationwide distribution by May 2004.