Sam Adams maker launches Nordic-inspired sparkling drink

Dive Brief:

  • Boston Beer plans to introduce Bevy Long Drink, a sparkling beverage inspired by the national cocktail of Finland, the “Long Drink,” the maker of Sam Adams said in a statement. Bevy Long Drink will hit shelves in early November in two flavors: Sparkling Citrus Refresher and Sparkling Berry Refresher.
  • The citrus refresher, which has a 5.8% alcohol by volume content, is made from a blend of citrus flavors and wild juniper berries. A long drink is a traditional Finnish cocktail that traditionally consists of gin, grapefruit soda and tonic.
  • The launch marks the latest announcement for Boston Beer, which has been active in recent months introducing products and touting partnerships for new offerings with companies like food and beverage giant PepsiCo.

Dive Insight:

Boston Beer has made a big name for itself with offerings like its signature Sam Adams lager, Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea. But the beverage maker has been moving aggressively to find its next big hit.

Beam Suntory and Boston Beer formed a partnership to bring several of their iconic brands into some of the fastest-growing beverage alcohol segments, including a launch of Truly Hard Seltzer into bottled spirits. Last month, it announced it was working with PepsiCo to roll out a Hard Mtn Dew alcoholic offering in the U.S. And just last week, it agreed to partner with Ontario-based manufacturer Peak Processing Solutions and grower Entourage Health to debut nonalcoholic cannabis-infused beverages in Canada.

The latest move for Boston Beer is the launch later this year of Bevy Long Drink. In much the same way that Chobani put Greek yogurt on the radar and spurred a resurgence in the popular dairy category, Boston Beer is turning to Finland in an effort to latch onto the next popular trend and hopefully identify a new fast-growing beverage. The malt-based drink is touted by Boston Beer as unique in that while it’s inspired by the traditional cocktail, it will be the first Long Drink-inspired beverage available in the U.S. without spirits.

“Drinkers are searching for the ultimate in refreshment, but also don’t want to sacrifice taste. That’s where Bevy Long Drink comes in,” said Lesya Lysyj, Boston Beer’s Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s cocktail-inspired, easy to drink, and full-flavored, yet highly refreshing unlike any beer or pre-mixed cocktail out there.”

The new product allows Boston Beer to tap into the expertise it collected with Truly when it comes to sparkling. It also embraces the trendy ready-to-drink cocktail many in the industry have said could bring down the wildly popular hard seltzer category.

Boston Beer has watched its stock price slide after it admitted this summer to overestimating the growth of the hard seltzer category. Its high-flying stock, which was around $1,300 in April, is now near $560. Earlier this week, Boston Beer withdrew its financial guidance for its current fiscal year after highlighting “decelerating growth trends” in hard seltzer and “continuing uncertainty” about the category.

Still, customer tastes and preferences are evolving more quickly than ever, and it’s increasingly hard to predict what will catch on compared to what is a flash in the pan. Hard cider was once the up-and-coming drink in alcohol, but has seen its luster dim. Hard seltzer, for its part, caught many of the big beer giants like AB InBev and Molson Coors by surprise, and they have been investing heavily to catch up ever since.

Whether new offerings like Bevy Long Drink catch on will ultimately be decided by consumers, and particularly young drinkers who seem to always be looking for the next best liquid or flavor offering.

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