Just when it seemed flavored booze couldn't get any sweeter, here comes Cinnabon vodka.
The sinful cinnamon roll brand is partnering with Beam Inc. on the product, which will be branded as Pinnacle Cinnabon Vodka. The variety joins other Pinnacle vodka flavors such as caramel apple, pecan pie and salted caramel.
"We're thrilled to partner with such a powerhouse consumer brand as Cinnabon, and we're confident this great-tasting vodka innovation will delight our consumers and bring an exciting new twist to the flavored vodka category," Bill Newlands, Beam's North American president, said in a statement.
The vodka will roll out in select markets on Dec. 1 and make its national debut on Jan. 1. The launch will be supported by a national sampling tour that will target "various brunch and happy-hour soirees." Pinnacle's lead agency is WPP's Ogilvy, Chicago.
The flavor is the latest example of the sweet-booze trend that has gained steam in the past couple years as spirits marketers seek to appeal to variety-seeking millennials and women. "Women have played a significant role in the market share gains of spirits and wine from beer," Robert Ottenstein, an alcohol-industry analyst for International Strategy and Investment Group, said in a recent report. He cited a Gallup statistic showing that in 2013 about 65% of women consume alcohol, up from 58% in 2004. "As more women drink, advertisers focus more on women, and social stigmas continue to decline in a self-reinforcing loop," he added.
He credited Beam for doing "more to embrace and attract women than some other spirits companies," noting that CEO Matt Shattuck came from Cadbury "where chocolate was a critical category." He cited "female-centric" ads such as this recent one for Pinnacle:
Diageo's Smirnoff vodka has also been at the forefront, launching flavors such as fluffed marshmallow, whipped cream and sorbet light, Mr. Ottenstein noted.
Beam's Cinnabon flavor is described as combining the "decadent flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and rich cream cheese frosting with hints of caramel." It is not unlike Smirnoff's Cina-Sugar Twist flavor, which tastes like a "light and flaky, golden sweet pastry sprinkled with the irresistible sweetness of cinnamon & sugar," according to the brand's website.