Tis the Season
With the holiday season
approaching, it’s easy to push ahead to winter beverage promotions.
But I think it would be amiss to not mention the phenomenon that Halloween
has become and the role that seasonal beverages are playing for the
increasing number of adult celebrants.
Halloween has surged to a $5 billion business, which has more than doubled since 2003, reports the
National Retail Federation, Washington, D.C. The group says this is due in
large part because the holiday has become a fall festival rather than a
one-day affair. Nearly 60 percent of adults planned to celebrate or
participate in Halloween activities this year, and nearly 30 percent of
adults planned to throw or attend a party, the NRF said. It’s not
surprising that Halloween has become the third largest occasion for adult
parties after New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl.
Beer wholesalers rank Halloween behind St.
Patrick’s Day as the biggest beer-selling holiday on premise and just
after the Super Bowl and New Year’s Eve for retail sales.
The beer category has seasonal offerings from seminal
players like Sam Adams Octoberfest, Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon Pumpkin
Ale, Anheuser-Busch’s Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale and even
regional brewpubs and craft brewers like Federal Jack's Brewpub’s
Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale in regional and national markets. Spirits are
even getting into the fall mood, with the limited release of Pernod Ricard
USA’s Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice liqueur. This year, I’ve also
see the limited-time releases of Halloween-specific coffees, pumpkin
eggnogs and Silk Pumpkin Spice soymilk.
Jones Soda Co. also got into the spirit again with
Halloween flavors and packaging. Additionally, Cott Beverages entered the
seasonal product market with the release of a glow-in-the-dark can for its
Halloween Orange Cream Soda.
Halloween really is shaping up to be a great holiday
for innovative beverage products, including unique flavors, colors and
A grape honor
Arkansas’s Grapette soda recently was featured
on the Food Network’s “Unwrapped” series. The soft drink,
which was reintroduced in 2004, was featured on a grape-themed episode of
the television show. The show delves into the history, production process
and keys to the success of food and beverage products. Former President
Bill Clinton is one of Grapette’s fans and has said he loved drinking
the beverage when he was growing up.
Courvoisier launched the
super-premium Exclusif cognac blend at a party in Atlanta. A collection of
the southern city’s who’s who, including R&B artist Usher,
were on hand to celebrate and taste Exclusif cocktails such as the French
Kiss. Partygoers also were treated to a preview of neo-soul artist Raheem
DeVaughn’s new album and watched as artist Monica Tookes created art
live. Courvoisier spokesman Big Tigger and DJ Biz Markie also were on hand
to keep the party going.
Holiday survival tips
Newcastle Brown Ale offers its consumers a holiday
survival guide this season. The guide is written by television chef Sam
“The Cooking Guy” Zien and features sweet and savory holiday
recipes and promotional offers. Specially designed to help consumers relax
and enjoy the holidays, the book features Zien’s edgy, humorous
approach to cooking and provides no-fuss, sure-fire recipes, which include
spicy cocktails, barbecued turkey and a
Newcastle- infused dessert.
Greening the beach
Recycling is coming to Florida’s beaches. The
beaches in Broward County, Fla., are hoping to be revived with help from
recycled glass bottles, National Public Radio reported. Following recent
active hurricane seasons, the beaches have been battling erosion. A new
pilot project, funded in part through a grant from the Florida DEP, is
mixing natural beach sand with pulverized glass from recycled bottles. The
project has reported successful results and the county is pursuing a permit
to place beach-quality pulverized glass directly into the surf.
Icehouse is giving its fans the chance to be
immortalized as a bobble head figurine. Icehouse’s “Calling All
SuperFans” promotion offers hundreds of instant winners the chance to
receive their own personalized SuperFan bobble head by entering an in-pack
code on the beer’s Web site, icehouse.com. Also part of the grand
prize is a trip to any United States sporting event. For fans who
aren’t so lucky, Icehouse also is offering the chance to purchase
their own bobble head. Consumers of legal drinking age can upload their
photo and choose between a football, basketball or baseball uniform for
their personalized bobble head for $55.
Diageo announced its collaboration with restaurant
guide producer Zagat Survey. The two combined their expertise for
Drinkwell, an online resource guide to restaurants dedicated to serving the
highest quality drinks and drink service.
Visitors to the Web site, idrinkwell.com, will
have free access to the ratings Zagat surveyors have given to hundreds of
Drinkwell establishments nationwide. The
ratings are based on the quality of
drinks, service, atmosphere and cost.