Beverage Social Media Listening
Listening Dates: October 1st – December 31st
Nothing says “happy holidays” like a cup of Starbucks
It’s just not the holiday season until Starbucks has revealed their holiday cup design(s) and released their seasonal drinks. Much to the chagrin of some customers, Starbucks did not continue their Holiday Spice Flat White in 2018. For those disappointed and looking for an alternative, Starbucks pointed customers to their Gingerbread Latte or their Blonde Flat White, as a less-sweet alternative. Additionally, two of their “mocha” beverages, the Peppermint and Toasted White Chocolate, were praised by consumers throughout Q4.
Too Cool for School
Calling all cold brew lovers! There’s a new gadget for you. The HyperChiller, featured on one of BuzzFeed’s many holiday gift giving guides is purported to chill beverages by 130 degrees in just one minute – without any dilution of flavor. While the most common use is for coffee, the HyperChiller works on any beverage including wine, spirits, shots, and even juice. Even in the depths of winter, cold is in!
Coca-Cola U.K. sought an opportunity to further expand their leading zero-sugar portfolio in the UK, which already accounts for 58% of Coke sales in the country, with a seasonal Cinnamon offering. Brits love cinnamon flavor and Coke’s Zero Sugar Cinnamon was released in the ramp up to Christmas and remained available through the end of 2018. Previously in the US, Pepsi has attempted a cinnamon cola offering with Pepsi Fire in 2017, which received mixed reviews and has since been discontinued. However, the voting buttons on delish.com indicate that there may be a US market for cinnamon cola again (~90% would try Cinnamon Coke).
Highly Functional Alcohol
It’s not the first time (and it certainly won’t be the last) that otherwise functional beverages have gotten a little boozy. Café Agave claims to have a “first-of-its-kind” canned, spiked cold brew. This concoction clocks in at a whopping 12.5% ABV, comparable to a glass of wine and is sized similarly at just over 6 ounces. The caffeine content is similar to a half cup of coffee, and the coffee is brewed for 12+ hours to give it a smoother, less acidic taste. Spiked Cold Brew comes in caffe mocha, vanilla cinnamon, salted caramel, and espresso shot flavors.
Similarly, Wild Tonic has released a line of alcoholic kombuchas called Hard Jun Kombucha. Given that kombucha is already a fermented beverage, this boozy version may not be such a far cry from its non-alcoholic original state. Jun Kombucha is fermented with honey and is said to bring the “buzz without the sting.” Hard Jun Kombucha comes in two ABV levels. Blackberry Mint, Blueberry Basil, Hoppy Buzz, Mango Ginger, Raspberry Goji Rose, and Tropical Turmeric are all available at 5.6% ABV. Clocking in at 7.6% ABV, the first high alcohol kombucha to be distributed nationally, Wild Tonic offers flavors called Dancing Naked with notes of Zinfandel, Mind Spank with a combination of coffee, chocolate and maple, and Wild Love with notes of blackberry and hints of lavender. The company’s founder said “The flavour profiles were inspired purely from an intuitive space where I am guided without rational thought interfering, much like when I am creating art. My main objective was to create flavours that complement the subtle nature of the Jun alcohol ferment!”
Tale of Two IPAs
The New Hampshire-based Smuttynose Brewing Company recently added two new canned IPAs to its expanding product line. Mysterious Haze, a New England-style IPA, offers a double dry-hopped body with hints of citrus and an orange-gold tint. Whole Lotta Lupulin differentiates itself as a smooth-bodied Double IPA, with consumers reporting traces of apricot and grapefruit.
IPA Market Goes Nuts
Planters, the iconic nut brand and well-loved go-with snack for beer, will now feature their sophisticated brand mascot, Mr. Peanut, in a line of limited-edition IPAs. Mr. IPA-Nut is Planters’ first foray into the beer market, and will balance the citrus flavors familiar to IPA drinkers with notes of their classic honey-roasted peanuts and signature saltiness.
A Seasonal Escape
London’s Five Points Brewing Company has added Jupa, a self-described tropical pale ale, to its line of existing brews. Given its summery flavor profile, some may find Jupa’s late-year release peculiar, but Five Points hopes that this new offering will provide a welcome escape to UK consumers during the cold and dark days of winter that lie ahead.
Two Brews Are Better Than One
In partnership with Harpoon Brewery, Dunkin’ has unveiled the Harpoon Dunkin’ Coffee Porter, a 6% ABV brew that the company hopes will attract coffee and beer drinkers alike. While beer enthusiasts can look forward to a smooth, malty flavor that pairs well with the season, Dunkin’s coffee loyalists can expect to find the company’s signature flavors of espresso and dark chocolate.
BuzzBallz, a beverage brand owned by Texas-based Southern Champion, recently released a line of pop-top wine cocktails, BuzzTallz, hoping to reach consumers seeking the deluxe craft cocktail experience at a time and place of their choosing, and at a fraction of the cost of made-to-order cocktails. The drinks come in durable, consumer-friendly packaging and combine real juice with top-shelf alcohol, and include a diverse flavor selection that extends from chocolate to horchata.
Lift Your Spirits This Winter
Diageo has added a limited-edition black raspberry variant of its premium line of Ciroc flavored vodkas. The addition is Diageo’s first winter-themed venture and the company hopes to build on its recent success with other seasonal flavors, as demand for premium vodkas continues to grow.
Honey Vodka Generates Buzz
Dixie Vodka has partnered with Savannah Bee Company to add a honey-flavored line of vodka to its portfolio. The joint venture seeks to raise awareness of honeybee population shortages while offering customers a sweet spirit that can be consumed by itself or mixed into cocktails.
Aged to Perfection
Midnight Blend, a limited-edition 28-year-aged Scotch whisky, is the latest and last release in Johnnie Walker’s Private Collection. As the name suggests, the whisky is designed to be a post-dinner nightcap, and contains hints of “fruit, sweet, and spice” according to a company spokesman.
Rye Me a River
Devil’s River has added two new varieties of whiskey to its product line. The first is a rye whiskey with hints of pepper and oak, which is evened out by sweeter notes of brown sugar and caramel. The second is a barrel strength bourbon whiskey which, at a considerable 59% ABV, is supposed to go down smooth and evoke honey, caramel, and oak flavors.
Are Holiday Cocktails just Classics + Chocolate?
Maybe, and that’s OK by us! Just take a look at these two recipes shared from influencers in the cocktail mixology space. First up is a White Chocolate Gin and Tonic which is made with Tanqueray London Dry Gin, White Chocolate Godiva, tonic water, lime, and garnished with white chocolate shavings. And when you are ready for another round, we have a Mexican Chocolate Manhattan made with Venus Spirits Hayward Bourbon, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, and Hella Cocktail Co’s Mexican chocolate bitters.
New Year, New Drinks
Industry Juice announced their predictions for 2019 cocktail trends in late October. Among the notable flavor forecasts:
- Food and cocktail pairings (rather than food and wine) are expected to increase
- Pineapple may be poised to top strawberry as a flavor in cocktails
- Varying by location and depending on government regulations, CBD-infused cocktails will be on the rise
Check out the full list here: https://www.industryjuice.com/leading-bartenders-predict-2019-cocktail-trends/
Content generated by monitoring and mining online social media channels for unsolicited consumer-generated discussions of categories, brands, and flavors. It’s purpose – to keep Givaudan and its partner clients on the forefront of emerging marketplace trends.