Suntory Global Spirits (previously Beam Suntory) is trialing a Scotch-based ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail in Japan using Teacher’s Whisky.

The Teacher’s Highball, an 8%-abv mix of the Glasgow blended-Scotch and soda, comes in 350ml cans with an RRP of 167 yen ($1.06).

Suntory Global Spirits launched the product at the end of May. Speaking to Just Drinks on Friday (14 June), Chris Richardson, Suntory’s vice president of Scotch and Irish brands, said RTDs were an area “of interest” and the company could look to roll the cans out in other markets if they prove a success in Japan.

“Suntory has stated an ambition to really lead the way in RTDs and it is an area of focus for the company in general and across a number of our biggest markets,” he said.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to learn a little bit about the world of RTDs for our Scotch portfolio and to understand where there are lessons that we can then apply in other markets.”

Last year, Suntory formed a group-wide RTD development arm to “accelerate business growth in the growing global RTD market”.

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It told Just Drinks at the time it wanted the division to combine the “know-how and assets” of the Suntory group, which comprises Japan-based Suntory, US spirits company then-Beam Suntory and Suntory Beverage & Food. The unit replaced the former spirits-focused RTD-development department.

Suntory’s sales teams in Japan said RTDs are “helping them to recruit new consumers into the brand [and] into whiskey”. “It’s making it more accessible and that initial experience a little bit easier to get into,” Richardson said.

While launching RTDs with other brands in the spirits giant’s Scotch and Irish portfolios is “not on the agenda at the moment”, Richardson added: “We need to also remain aware of what’s happening in the market and how consumer trends are changing.”

In February, Suntory decided to roll out its Japanese RTD brand -196 to more international markets, including the UK and the US.

The -196 brand was first launched in Japan in 2005. It was subsequently released into the Australian market in 2012 and then China last year.