Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I is to enter the RTD alcohol market with its Japanese brand -196

Launching in Great Britain from April, there will be two flavours, Lemon and Grapefruit, both with 6% alcohol content.

First launched in Japan in 2005, -196 is available in Australia and China, with launches in Great Britain, Germany, the US and Southeast Asia to come this year.

The -196 brand name is a reference to the use of Suntory’s proprietary freeze crush infusion technology which freezes the whole fruit by using liquid nitrogen at -196°C and the frozen zest, pulp and juice are then crushed into powder and infused with vodka.

SBF GB&I chief operating officer Carol Robert said: “This launch marks a significant move for us into the ready to drink alcohol market and is part of a much bigger strategy for portfolio growth. We’re very proud of our Japanese heritage and honoured to be launching one of Suntory’s iconic brands in our business for the first time.”

SBF GB&I sales director Alpesh Mistry added: “It’s our first step into alcohol but with years selling some of the UK’s most popular soft drinks and the continued strong performance of our brands, we know we can make it success. We have a number of people in our business who bring great previous experience of the alcohol market, so know we’re in a strong position to bring this exciting launch to consumers.”