March was highlighted by the entrance of major players into the RTD space including Jameson, CÎROC, and Grey Goose. Several new celebrity partnerships also took shape, with A$AP Rocky, AC/DC, and Reese Witherspoon all involved with product rollouts this month. Below is Park Street’s full recap of product launches for March 2022.
In collaboration with Beam Suntory, hard seltzer producer Truly is venturing into the spirits category with the introduction of a flavored vodka offering inspired by its range of seltzers. The new flavored vodka will be available in three varieties: Strawberry Lemonade, Wild Berry, and Pineapple Mango. The varieties will all contain 30% ABV and retail from 50mL to 1L formats at select grocery stores.
“As we enter an entirely new category for the brand, we’re thrilled to be working in tandem with the pioneers in premium spirits at Beam Suntory to bring our latest innovation to life,” said Lesya Lysyj, Boston Beer Company CMO. “With the launch of Truly Flavored Vodka, we want to defy what consumers think vodka can be and create a product that’s flavorful, colorful, and endlessly interesting.
With the extensive growth of the RTD category being partially facilitated by whiskey-based cocktails, Jameson Irish Whisky has become the latest major supplier to enter the U.S. RTD market. The premium canned cocktail is ginger and lime flavored and made with a triple distilled Irish whiskey base. The new offering is 6% ABV and is available at retailers nationwide. It will also be available on Drizly in 4-packs of sleek 12oz cans.
“We’re exceptionally excited to announce this new offering just in time for St. Patrick’s Day,” said Sona Bajaria, Vice President of Marketing, Jameson at Pernod Ricard USA. “The past two years have underscored the mandate to provide consumers with quality products in a convenient way. With 9 out of 10 consumers interested in purchasing a Jameson Ginger & Lime ready-to-drink, this expansion was a natural next step.”
In a move that introduces the brand’s first ready-to-drink line, Bacardi-owned Grey Goose has launched its Essence Vodka Spritz. The RTD is a variant of the company’s 30% ABV Essences Line which was unveiled last year with a high degree of success. The offering will come in at 4.5% ABV with 79 calories per 250mL can.
Martin de Dreuille, Grey Goose Vice-President of Global Marketing, said: “Spritzes and drinks featuring botanicals have been growing trends, and with consumers increasingly trying their hand at mixology, we knew there was an exciting opportunity to create a distinctive drink using real fruit essences that would take the guesswork out of mixing light tasting and delicious cocktails at home.”
Anchor Brewing Company introduced a new West Coast IPA to its year-round portfolio. The offering is meant to celebrate the evolution of Anchor’s dry-hopping process and the company’s history. The IPA is brewed with nugget citra and cascade hops and contains grapefruit zest and fresh pine aromas. The product retails at $9.99 per 6-pack and contains 7% ABV.
“Our West Coast IPA is a celebration of our Bay Area roots, and Anchor’s long history with dry hopping,” said Assistant Brewmaster Dane Volek, who leads Anchor’s innovation team. “We’ve been experimenting with variations at Public Taps, our taproom in San Francisco, and perfecting our version of this respected style to land on this vibrant and balanced beer.”
In partnership with E. & J. Gallo and Global Brand Equities, musical artist ASAP Rocky has unveiled his new Canadian whisky brand, Mercer & Prince. Marketed toward contemporary consumers, the whisky is aged for four years in American white oak barrels. The aging process yields fruity aromas on the nose with notes of dark caramel and cinnamon to the taste. Mercer & Prince is available through ReserveBar at $29.99 and retailers starting in the summer.
“Bringing Rocky’s vision to life has been a terrific opportunity for Gallo and we appreciate his commitment,” said Britt West, the Vice President and General Manager of the spirit division at Gallo. “It’s been an exciting process, helping him source the right whisky, finding partners capable of producing the package, and ultimately getting it to the market effectively. With Mercer + Prince, Rocky wants to shake things up for the long term and we are fully on board.”
Anheuser Busch-owned Modelo has joined the ready-to-drink party with its release of Ranch Water, a premium canned cocktail. Made from sparkling water, lime juice, and tequila, the new RTDs are available in New Mexico and Texas. The cans sell in packs of 6 and contain 100 calories with 4.5% ABV.
“This launch is the latest in a series of moves by the brand to reach its goal of becoming the #1 beer brand in the U.S.,” Modelo shared in the release.
The Balvenie added three new whiskies to its Cask Finishes Range. The release includes a 15-year-old Madeira cask-finished scotch, an 18-year old Pedro Ximénez finished whisky, and a 16-year old finished in French Pineau casks, with the first two being released exclusively into the travel retail market.
“Pineau casks are rarely seen in the scotch whisky industry and they have paired with the Balvenie spirit perfectly, adding orchard fruits and a citrusy zing,” commented Charles Metcalfe, global brand ambassador for The Balvenie. “The extra sweetness and richness from the Pedro Ximénez cask adds a lovely rich weight to the palate of our 18 Years Old, with all of those delicious dark fruits coming through.
Scottish gin maker Hendricks has come out with a limited release: Neptunia. The gin is infused with a blend of coastal botanicals and yields a crisp, citrus finish. The offering is bottled at 43.4% AVB and will retail for 39.99 for each 750mL bottle. Crafted by master distiller Lesley Gracie, Neptunia is inspired by memories and impressions made on her by the sea.
“Most of my creations are based on memories – I play around with botanicals and combine them to recreate certain sensations. Hendrick’s Neptunia, for me, is that freeing feeling of the sea bottled in a gin. You have that distinctive fresh character from coastal herbs, depth of flavor from the sea botanicals, and an unmistakably clean, bright citrus finish that lifts in a round, refreshing way that makes it Hendrick’s,” Gracie said.
Diageo owned Bulleit Frontier Whisky rolled out a new line of premium ready-to-drink cocktails with the announcement of Bulleit Crafted Cocktails. The line includes two initial offerings: Bulleit Manhattan and Bulleit Old Fashioned. The whiskey-based mixed drinks can be served neat, chilled, or on ice and are packed in bottles inspired by the distiller’s usual orange and green packaging. Each cocktail comes in at 37.5% ABV and is suggested to retail at $29.99 per 375mL bottle.
“As a brand rooted in bartender culture, we collaborated with a number of leading bartenders to perfect and refine two timeless whiskey cocktails, the Old Fashioned and Manhattan,” says Sophie Kelly, SVP of Whiskies, Diageo. “With Bulleit Crafted Cocktails, consumers can pour and serve bar quality, crafted cocktails wherever they are. Whilst nothing can replace the full experience of enjoying a drink made by your local bartender, Bulleit Crafted Cocktails are as close as you can get.
Non-alcoholic beer leader Athletic Brewing added Athletic Lite to its portfolio. Containing 25 calories and 5 cards, the drink’s launch ventures into new territory for the non-alcoholic space, with very few low-cal options available. The offering is being positioned to compete against other leading higher-proof lite options like Michelob Ultra, Coors Light, Miller, and Bud Light. The product’s launch will be bolstered by a media deal with CBS in which March Madness players and Sports Center’s Scott Van Pelt will tout the Lite beer on social media. This is the first non-alcoholic campaign of its kind. It will retail at $13.99 per 6-pack.
“The craft beer world — not to mention the non-alcoholic craft beer world — is such a relatively small part of the beer world. We want to reach the enormous landscape of macro light beer drinkers with a really high-quality product,” says Athletic co-founder Bill Shufelt.
Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum came out with its latest offering, Cherry Vanilla. The new variety blends the brand’s classic spiced rum with sweet dark cherries and vanilla. To promote the new release the company has partnered with TV personality Joe Amabile or “Grocery Store Joe” and is encouraging consumers to share their creations with the beverage on social media. For a limited time in the U.S., each 750mL bottle retails at $15.99 and contains 30% ABV.
“Captain Morgan has a history of experimenting with new flavors. For Cherry Vanilla, we used inspiration from the past to create something new. We wanted to give people the comfort of a flavor they love, our spiced rum, with a twist that would inspire experimentation whether an ice cream float or their own personal creation,” said Sam Salameh, Vice President of Captain Morgan.
Great South Bay Brewing has partnered with KnuckleBonz to extend its Limited Edition Beverage Series by introducing the AC/DC For Those About To Rock Ale. The release will give fans of the rock band a 5.9% ABV beer that’s brewed with Aussie hops and cane sugar for a crisp citrusy taste with a subtle malty sweetness. The new offering will be available in 33 States across the U.S. and will retail for $19.99 a four-pack through Half Time Beverage.
“When we were presented the opportunity to work with KnuckleBonz to combine our crafts it was one of those ‘Aha!’ moments. To say that we are excited about what we have been able to come together and create would be a massive understatement,” says Chris Davis of Great South Bay Brewery.
Actress Reese Whitherspoon has partnered with Sonoma-based SIMI WInery to unveil The Editors Edition Rose. Created to pair with Witherspoon’s book club, the Rose is made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and has white peach, citrus, and strawberry flavors to the taste. The offering will be on sale at Target where it will retail for $18.99.
I began Reese’s Book Club to elevate women’s stories and to connect with readers and friends like you. And what better way to celebrate these women – and connect with each other – than over a great glass of wine.
Music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and CÎROC are the latest to enter the ready-to-drink space, with the announcement of CÎROC Vodka Spritz. This is the first RTD for the premium cocktail brand. The collection will feature four summer-inspired flavors: Watermelon Kiwi, Sunset Citrus, Pineapple Passion, and Colada. The range will be available nationwide and will retail for $16.99 for a 4-pack of each flavor.
“Breaking into the RTD category is a landmark moment for the brand and we’re excited to launch a line of spirits that bring a new energy and audience segment to the growing market,” says Sean “Diddy” Combs. “With nearly 15 years leading the brand and having historic success growing the CÎROC portfolio, I’m looking forward to making CÎROC Vodka Spritz the No. 1 brand in the category.”