Boston Beer launched Hard Mtn Dew this week in Florida, Tennessee, and Iowa as part of a joint venture with PepsiCo. The product will expand to 13 additional states by the end of April, Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick told investors during a conference call last week. The alcoholic product contains 5% alcohol by volume and no caffeine. The drink is available in 24-oz single serve cans and 12-count multipacks of 12-oz cans. Flavors are regular Mtn Dew, Baja Blast, Watermelon, and Black Cherry. Sweeteners are sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). Marketing for the product couches it as getting back to Mtn Dew soda’s roots as an alcohol mixer when it was founded 80 years ago. While Boston Beer is developing and producing Hard Mtn Dew, PepsiCo’s wholly owned Blue Cloud Distribution company will manage wholesale distribution, sales, and merchandising. These states are in the best position to take on Hard Mtn Dew in the coming months.
On Oct. 5, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo each reported fourth quarter earnings and their outlooks for 2022. Coke said it expects organic revenue to grow this year by +7.0% to 8.0%, which compares to +16% growth in 2021. The company also expects a mid-single-digit percentage increase in commodity costs this year. In the fourth quarter, Coca-Cola’s North America Operating Unit posted organic revenue growth of +14% on an +8.0% volume gain and +9.0% higher pricing. Separately, PepsiCo sees +6.0% organic revenue growth for 2022, compared to +9.5% in 2021. In the fourth quarter, Pepsi Beverages North America organic revenue jumped +12% on a +7.0% volume gain and +6.0% higher pricing. Meanwhile, Keurig Dr Pepper reports fourth-quarter earnings results tomorrow.
Coca-Cola announced last week a new product and marketing platform called Coca-Cola Creations, which will comprise a series of limited time offerings under brand Coke. The first LTO launch is Coca-Cola Starlight, which reached shelves last week and will stay there for about six months. During a press event, a Coke marketing executive said the innovation team took a “leap of faith” to experiment with brand Coca-Cola. Their starting point was the question: “What might outer space taste like?” The exact flavor of the red-tinted drink is purposefully ambiguous. BD sampled the beverage, which tastes much like cream soda. A key marketing hook for Starlight is the use of augmented reality by way of packaging and the web. The drink will be promoted by pop star Ava Max. Coke Creations is intended to engage uninterested young consumers, and Coke will launch more LTOs under the product and marketing platform later this year.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola will discontinue Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla at retail by March 22. Coke launched the variant three years ago in regular and Zero Sugar versions. The flavor will remain on Freestyle fountain units, where the blend became a consumer favorite before being lifted to the bottle and can market.
PepsiCo now says it will rollout Nitro Pepsi at retail starting March 14. BD flagged the coming launch last year. The nitrogen-infused cola has a creamy mouthfeel and softer bubbles. Flavors are Draft Cola and Vanilla Draft Cola. A 16-oz can of Nitro Pepsi will retail for $2.29, or $6.49 per 4-pack. Consumers can pre-order the drink at Walmart.com starting today, according to PepsiCo.
Naked Juice (now controlled by Tropicana Brands Group) has launched new flavors Orange Vanilla Crème and Key Lime. The plant-based smoothies are made with almond and coconut milk and sweetened with monkfruit.
Coca-Cola’s US dairy brand Fairlife and Thums Up cola in India each surpassed $1 billion in retail sales last year, the company said. Fairlife was founded in 2012 to produce ultrafiltered milk and Core Power dairy-based protein drinks. Coke acquired Thums Up in 1993.
Alaska Airlines featured Boxed Water is Better in a Super Bowl ad touting the airlines’ sustainability agenda. Through this year, Alaska Airlines is replacing PET-packaged bottled water with carton-packaged Boxed Water Is Better.
An affinity group, SaveTabSoda Committee, has circulated a petition and is raising money for billboards in Coca-Cola’s hometown Atlanta following the company’s 2020 decision to discontinue the brand. Organizers told CNN Business they want Coke to resurrect the diet cola. BD notes that the group shouldn’t hold its collective breath, although the brand would be ripe for a nostalgic limited time return or social media promotion someday. Coke still owns the trademark.
Coca-Cola has set a new global target to make 25% of its packaging reusable by 2030. These could include refillable bottles and reusable fountain drink cups. The pledge comes as activists ramp up pressure on producers of plastic packaging. Greenpeace Netherlands recently opened a pop-up museum displaying decades old consumer product packages recovered from the ocean.
PepsiCo’s Rockstar energy drink has signed a three-year deal to sponsor of the UEFA men’s and women’s Champions League soccer. Gatorade, Pepsi Max, and Lay’s already sponsor the European league.
Liquid Death ran an attention-grabbing Super Bowl ad that was no surprise to anyone who has followed the brand’s irreverent voice and package design, which take cues from the beer industry. Backed by Judas Priest’s antisocial rock song, “Breaking the Law,” pre-teens pass around 16.9-oz tallboy cans of Liquid Death water like a scene from a frat party. At the end, a mother holds a can and smiles approvingly at the raucous scene before the camera pans to her pregnant stomach. A tag line reads: “Don’t be Scared, It’s Just Water.”
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