4 Surprising Beverages That Debuted This Week

By 
Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

CHICAGO -- Sometimes a string of press releases comes into the office that leaves me feeling like a dam of interesting new products just broke. That happened this week in news from PepsiCo, Starbucks, MillerCoors and more.

Here's a look at four new products that caught CSP off guard this week ...

Two Hats

We knew Two Hats was coming from MillerCoors. The company sampled it during the NACS Show in October. But we didn't know how it was coming to market.

MillerCoors' press release from Feb. 7 was headlined "Good Cheap Beer Has Arrived." It's an approach we haven't seen in this day and age of craft and premium beers, and it embraces the idea that brewers aren't just competing with each other, but also with wine and spirits, which have stolen share from beer in recent years.

"We want to give 21- to 24-year-old drinkers, who don't consider beer to be great-tasting and affordable, an option they can get on board with," said Justine Stauffer, Two Hats brand manager for MillerCoors, Chicago. "As soon as people realize that a beer this good is about $5, their immediate reaction is, 'Wait, what?' "

Two Hats is a line of light beers with a hint of all-natural fruit flavor. With an alcohol by volume of 4.2%, Two Hats comes to market in Lime and Pineapple flavors. Drinkers can pick up 16-ounce cans in four- or six-packs for about $5 nationwide.

Bubly

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo launched a new drink on Feb. 8 that aims to bring something new to sparkling water: personality.

Bubly is a new sparkling water that "combines refreshing and delicious flavors with an upbeat and playful sense of humor," the company said in its press release.

Made with no artificial flavors, sweeteners or calories, bubly is available in eight flavors: limebubly, grapefruitbubly, strawberrybubly, lemonbubly, orangebubly, applebubly, mangobubly and cherrybubly. Each bubly flavor features bright, bold packaging and unique "smiles" for every flavor. It also comes with its own witty greeting on the tab (like "Hey u," "hiii" and "yo") and personal messages on the can (such as "I feel like I can be open around u," "hold cans with me" and "love at first phssst").

Bubly is available in 12-ounce cans (eight- and 12-packs), as well as 20-ounce single-serve bottles.

Teavana

Meanwhile, Starbucks, through partner Anheuser-Busch, quietly introduced six new flavors in its Teavana packaged-beverage line.

The ready-to-drink beverages are part of the brand's Craft Iced Tea line. It includes Unsweetened Strawberry Apple Green Tea, Passion Tango Herbal Tea, Peach Green Tea, Mango Black Tea, Pineapple Berry Blue Herbal Tea and Unsweetened Meyer Lemon Black Tea. Each is available in 14.5-ounce glass bottles.

Seattle-based Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, work together to produce, bottle, distribute and market Teavana Craft Iced Teas in the United States.

Four Loko

Finally, it's always head turning when maverick Four Loko releases a new product. The last addition to the line of flavored malt beverages, Four Loko Gold, bumped up the alcohol content from 12% to 14%. And the newest edition follows suit.

Four Loko Black, released Feb. 7, "encourages consumers to determine the latest flavor for themselves," manufacturer Phusion Projects LLC, Chicago, said.

"Four Loko has always been a brand that connects directly with our fans, and this new product gives them another opportunity to create their own Four Loko stories with an enticing new flavor they have to actually try in order to decipher what it is," said Jaisen Freeman, the company's co-founder.

The product comes in 23.5-ounce cans adorned in black camouflage.