February 2012/Prepared Foods -- Flavored vodkas are by no means a new concept; citrus- and berry-flavored options have been around for years, and 2011 saw a number of new and unusual flavors enter the fray. Smaller producers have even taken the beverages into dessert-flavored territory, with concoctions promising the flavors of cupcakes, bubblegum, cotton candy and candy canes. However, Smirnoff’s latest launch is the first to take the dessert-flavored vodka nationwide.  The company introduced “fluffed marshmallow” and “whipped cream” versions of its namesake vodka. The mix of sugar and spice targets younger, female drinkers in particular; James Mosher, president of Alcohol Policy Consultations, has taken issue with the products, noting, “I see this move into these sweet drinks as catering to a youthful taste. This is not a drink that a mature adult is going to prefer.”

Smirnoff owner Diageo Plc. fended off such criticism that it targets underage consumers, affirming that the target market for the drinks is 25-35-year-old men and women, and arguing Mosher’s contentions are “seriously flawed and unsupported by government data and marketplace realities.” pf