Diageo is working with a flavour house in Italy’s Piedmont hills area, with the aim of focusing on a raft of concepts and trends starting with the launch of a “very accessible gin”.

The drinks company will work with the flavour house team and local farmers to explore new botanicals and flavour ideas for NPD in drinks for the future.

The news was announced as part of Diageo GB’s launch of The Diageo Drinks Report, within which it identified a £5.2 billion opportunity for alcohol over the next three years.

In the report, which is designed to offer insight and guidance for retailers to help them drive sales and value in alcohol, Diageo GB identified a 12% growth opportunity (equating to £5.2 billion) for alcoholic beverages via four key growth pillars.

The four pillars as identified by the report include: Balanced Choices, which reflects the rise of mindful consumption and no and low alcohol; Make the Moment; which covers the idea of consumers looking for products that elevate their experiences; Exploration; reflected in the rise of craft products and discovering new things; and finally Celebration; which Diageo said represents the “huge opportunity for increased consumer spend” around the celebration and gifting occasion.

The report kicks of a new category initiative called Transforming Drinks Experiences, which aims to help retailers decipher these consumer trends and unlock the £5.2 billion growth opportunity in alcohol.

Madeline Bedford, senior customer category manager, said: “Consumer drinking habits are changing, with an increased focus on premiumisation and heritage. As consumers grow more confident and their repertoires become broader, it is no longer appropriate to look at drink categories in isolation. To unlock true value, we must identify where and how consumer want to enjoy drinks and ensure there is always a relevant offer for them.

“Our Transforming Drinks Experiences initiative identifies ways retailers can take advantage of shifts in consumer behaviours and maximise profits from the total alcoholic drinks category.” The campaign will be brought to live through a series of initiatives across print and online channels.

Diageo also promised a raft of innovation for 2019 and beyond, with NPD sitting under at least one of the four pillars.

Adam Miller, senior innovation manager, said the company will look at innovation for its key brands, such as Smirnoff and Tanqueray, but it would also be looking at launching “new-to-market” brands to tap into the growth opportunity in alcohol.

He also highlighted recent NPD, which he said already taps into the four areas of growth as identified in the latest Diageo Drinks Report.

He said: “We introduced new RTDs under the Gordon’s brand as Gordon’s Ultra Low G&T flavoured drinks and also Smirnoff Infusions, which sit under the Balanced Choices pillar and then Gordon’s Pink, which is doing very well for us and sits under the Make the Moment pillar. Under Exploration we introduced brands such as Hop House 13 Lager, and then as part of the Celebrations pillar there are products such as Tanqueray Sevilla. An RTD version of this is about to go into the off-trade now in glass bottles.”