Douglas Laing debuts whisky RTD

by Melita Kiely

Independent Scotch whisky company Douglas Laing has joined the growing ready-to-drink (RTD) category with a pre-mixed whisky and tonic.

Rock Island Whisky and Tonic combines Island malt whisky with Scottish tonic water, delivering a ‘citric kick’. Sitting at 5% ABV, the 250ml cans contain fewer than 100 calories. The Rock Island whisky brand launched in 2015. It combines single malts from Island distilleries including Islay, Jura, Orkney and Arran. Jenny Rogerson, head of marketing, commented: “RTD volumes have been increasing faster than any other major drinks category since 2018, and are predicted to ‘significantly’ surpass the total alcohol market by 2025 (IWSR). “In line with ever-increasing consumer demand for light, refreshing, low-calorie and low-alcohol, ready-to-drink products, our new offering is premium, relevant and compelling. “We’re excited to bring to market this refreshingly light, subtly smoky serve for our fastest-growing Remarkable Regional Malt Whisky brand.” Rock Island Whisky and Tonic is available exclusively in the UK, priced at RRP £1.99 (US$2.60) per can. “Following extensive experimentation, we settled on the Rock Island and Tonic long serve in answer to the ever-growing trend for pre-mixed cocktails in a can,” said Chris Leggat, managing director, Douglas Laing. “Whilst the whisky remains the hero, and the flavour profile is unmistakably Rock Island, the recipe seeks to introduce whisky to a new audience via an accessible, appealing taste and convenient serve format. “We strive for distribution in the premium on-trade and convenience off-trade, delivering a low-alcohol, low-calorie and, importantly, delicious offering in time for spring/summer consumption.” The Spirits Business previously interviewed Cara Laing, part of the third generation of family-owned Douglas Laing & Co, who explained how pursuing a career in vodka led her to whisky. Independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co bought Perthshire-based single malt whisky distillery Strathearn in 2019.