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.

The trend for flavoured whiskies is growing worldwide. Crown Royal Maple Finished, our most significant launch in North America this year, combines the high-quality, award winning Crown Royal Canadian whisky with a hint of natural maple flavour – a unique offering that fits with the brand heritage. Crown Royal Maple contributed to Crown Royal net sales growth of 17% in Fiscal 2013.

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.

Johnnie Walker has a long and rich history of travel – moving beyond a small corner shop in 1820, to reach the four corners of the world. Inspired by this heritage, we launched the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection exclusive to travel retail. The Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club has transformed the travel retail experience, with large spaces dedicated to displaying the brand in key airports, bringing to life the romance of the journey. It is on track to be the biggest ever spirits brand launch in travel retail by sales.

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.

Tanqueray tapped into this year’s global gin resurgence, re-launching bartenders’ favourite, Tanqueray Malacca Gin, as a limited edition. Inspired by one of Charles Tanqueray’s original recipes from 1839, only 100,000 bottles of Malacca were made available exclusively to on trade customers worldwide. The essence of the campaign was to use the re-launch of Tanqueray Malacca as a vehicle to drive bartender and trade influencer advocacy for the whole Tanqueray portfolio in the best bars in mature gin markets. Exclusive launch events were held in London, San Francisco, New York and Chicago resulting in all of the 100,000 bottles selling in the first few weeks.

John Walker & Sons Odyssey

This year, John Walker & Sons announced the launch of John Walker & Sons Odyssey, a rare triple malt whisky retailing at $1,000, an important price point for international spirits in Asia. Odyssey was launched to commemorate the 80th anniversary of one of Sir Alexander Walker’s most famous innovations – a whisky decanter that moves to match the motion of the sea. The exquisitely designed packaging is a modern re-interpretation of this iconic design. It has been launched throughout Asia Pacific and is beginning to roll out within retail trade. The quality of John Walker & Sons Odyssey has already been recognised by the award of a gold medal at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC).

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