Flavored alcoholic beverages move from ready-mixed to ready-to-mix.
Ready-to-drink alcoholic cocktails have been on the rise in recent times, but could now be set for a new twist, as revealed in this month’s rundown of the latest drinks industry launches. In other news, alcoholic drinks manufacturers are pinning their hopes on the power of irreverent marketing, while tea and cordials have been given a refresh to appeal to children.
Recently released in Germany, Todd’s Push & Chill Cocktail is a new product that looks to reinvent the ready-mixed cocktail by allowing the consumer to “mix” the product themselves before they drink it, thanks to a packaging innovation. Tagged “squeeze, shake, serve,” the drink comes as a “pouch within a pouch,” and when the whole pack is crushed, the inner pouch is broken, allowing the separate fruit blend and alcohol to mix together. This is not the first time that a drinks pack has come with two components stored in separate compartments in the name of “freshness.” However, the “crushable” pack design could work particularly well in a category like ready-to-drink cocktails, adding an element of fun and interaction that would be a good fit for a party-oriented product.
Staying in Germany, while drinks companies are placing ever greater emphasis on attracting women to their brands, recent launches suggest that some manufacturers are still aiming to ensure that the more traditional market of male consumers is not neglected. One example of this is Carslberg’s new version of its Astra Bier, named Arschkalt. This literally translates as “ass cold” – an epithet used to describe extremely cold weather – and the product itself is designed as a limited winter edition. The strategy of using what is effectively a swearword directly within the product branding is one that could well pay off, although, given the potential for controversy, this is also an area where manufacturers might be advised to tread with caution.
Another German drinks launch looking to appeal to a male audience through irreverent marketing is Qorn Pure Corn Brandy, a 44% ABV product that, perhaps with a hint of irony, is advertised as being “exposed to the sound of hard rock music during its production process.” It is described as being “only suitable for men over 21 years, and not for women” and is sold in a number of versions featuring the names of heavy metal bands and record labels. Aside from the humorous – if potentially provocative – marketing, this product could have some niche appeal. Meanwhile, the choice of packaging – metal bottles – could also lend itself to out-of-home occasions such as music festivals.
Moving to the US, the power of humorous branding is also being explored by Shock Top, with its Shock Top End of the World Midnight Wheat Ale, launched in response to the December 2012 “apocalypse prophecy.” The beer is described as “a bold new unfiltered wheat ale brewed with midnight wheat, chocolate malt, chili, and other spices that comes in a dark, rich color and delivers an indulgent flavor.” The “end-of-the world” prophecy rapidly became an international phenomenon in 2012 – due in part to the power of the Internet and other media – and companies that are primed to react to such incidences through targeted innovation could end up reaping the benefits.
Finally, back in Europe, two companies are focusing on format and formulation to appeal to children in the hot drinks and concentrates markets, respectively. In Germany, HiPP has launched its new HiPP Forest Fruit Children’s Tea, which features an unusual innovation in design: a heart-shaped teabag. Previous developments in teabag technology have focused mainly on improving infusion, to ultimately result in a fuller flavor. This launch is a reminder that relatively simple aesthetic design changes can also help companies create a point of difference in a category such as tea.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the launch of the new Cool Bear Syrup line is a demonstration of the potential power of stevia in traditionally high-sugar products such as cordials. The new product comes in a choice of Vanilla Vroommm!, Strawberry Splatt!, and Blackcurrant Cola Crush! varieties. Its claim of containing “0% sugar – 100% stevia” could attract parents concerned both about the negative health effects of table sugar and the artificiality of conventional sweeteners.