Innovation forms a crucial part of Diageo’s growth strategy, playing a key role in ensuring that our brands are well positioned for continued growth. The strength and depth of our brand range means that we have solid platforms from which to drive innovation, while insights into shopper trends and changing consumer habits inform product and packaging development.

InnovationWe have world-class people and resources. Over 180 people are employed in dedicated innovation roles around the world, but innovation is also embedded within our marketing, sales and supply functions. The global team is based across our five regions while we have in market teams based in the UK, Spain, Ireland, Asia, Australia, Canada, Africa, North America, Latin America and Caribbean and many more locations. Diageo also operates Technical Research Centres in Bishops Stortford (UK), Norwalk (USA), Hong Kong and Australia which focus on driving our liquid development, packaging and technology agendas as well as running first-rate research and development programmes.

Diageo has a long history of innovation successes from the widget to Baileys Irish Cream. Examples of some of our more recent innovations include:


Snapp is a premium, crisp apple tasting drink, is Diageo’s first brand in Africa to be developed and marketed exclusively for women, providing a more stylish and sophisticated alternative to beer. In its first year, Snapp delivered £10 million of net sales making it our most successful launch of a new brand, ever.

Baileys Chocolat Luxe is our most innovative product for a decade and the first time that real Belgian chocolate has been fused with alcohol in a way that delivers the multi-sensory experience of chocolate in a glass. Created by Anthony Wilson, principal scientist and son of one of Baileys Original creators Steve Wilson, this latest innovation in drinks alchemy took three years to produce and over 800 attempts to get it right. The result is a unique drinking experience that brings together two favourite indulgences, Baileys and chocolate.

Our Master Brewers in Ghana recently created Ruut Extra, a refreshing beer made from cassava, a local root. This is Diageo’s first beer brewed using cassava and also holds the Diageo record for speed of development: eight weeks from concept to commercialisation. Its introduction was made possible due to the Ghanaian government’s progressive policy on local raw materials, which has resulted in concessions on products containing a majority of local ingredients. This innovation also supports Diageo’s ambition to increase local sourcing in Africa, helping support agricultural development and benefiting local smallholder farming communities.

Continued expansion of Smirnoff’s confectionary flavours has been a key driver of Smirnoff’s strengthening leadership in the dynamic premium vodka segment. With campaigns such as Flavoured Vodka never Felt so Good, backed by TV, featuring Roxanne McKee from the blockbuster TV show Game of Thrones, we achieved strong awareness for the new flavour innovations, Iced Cake and Kissed Caramel. The launch of the new flavours delivered strong incremental growth and attracted new consumers to the Smirnoff brand. Both flavour launches rank within the top 10 spirits launches of the past 12 months*. *IRI, March 2013.

This year we launched Single Grain Scotch whisky, Haig Club, that we developed in partnership with global icon David Beckham and British entrepreneur Simon Fuller. The contemporary appearance of the square HAIG CLUB™ bottle draws on a history of innovative bottles produced by the House of Haig. The blue glass bottle was inspired by the tradition of blenders using blue tasting glasses so the spirit can be reviewed on aroma and taste alone. The unique flavours of the whisky itself are created by master blender Chris Clark carefully selecting mature whisky from Refill, American Oak and Rejuvenated casks producing a stunning Single Grain Scotch Whisky with a fresh, clean style showcasing butterscotch-smooth tropical fruit and unexpected, spicy backing harmonies. HAIG CLUB™ is a whisky crafted to appeal to people who are new to whisky and whisky connoisseurs alike.

This year in the US, Sean Combs and the makers of Ciroc ultra-premium vodka announced the newest addition to its flavour portfolio - Ciroc Pineapple infused vodka. The liquid that boasts a rich pineapple flavour with a touch of vanilla and a tropical finish joins other Ciroc flavours, Amaretto, Peach, Red Berry and Coconut, expanding the top-selling ultra-premium infused vodka line.

Earlier this year, Diageo announced the launch of J&B Urban Honey, a new Spirit Drink based on J&B Scotch Whisky, which has been designed to open up the category to a new generation of men and women. J&B Urban Honey is a 35% ABV Spirit Drink made from J&B Scotch Whisky infused with honey and is a characterful drink that creates a balanced and smooth liquid. The taste has been created to be distinctively fresh when consumed neat, on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail.

This year, Diageo Reserve launched a new gin to its super premium gin portfolio in 2014. Following its success in Show Your Spirit competition, which took place in 2013, the winning entry Jinzu is ready for market retail. Created by young bartender Dee Davies, Jinzu is described as a British gin with a Japanese twist, using a mix of classic and Japanese botanicals with the addition of sake.

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