Summer Sips

Elizabeth Fuhrman  
Managing Editor

What happens in Vegas sometimes shouldn’t stay in Vegas. A city normally thought of for its nightlife added a new spin to the daytime. On Sunday afternoons at the Hard Rock Hotel, the hottest, biggest, craziest pool party in town occurs.
Fittingly, the pool party is called Rehab. In the 21 Sundays it will operate this year, Rehab is expected to make $6 million, nearly $35,000 every hour it is open. The pool brings in around 3,000 swim-attired partiers every week to drink, gamble, mingle, sun bathe and oh yeah... swim. Rehab offers $17 cocktails, and also serves alcohol by the bottle, with Bacardi rum running $375 a bottle and Jagermeister raking in $400 a bottle.
Since 2004, Rehab has operated in the Vegas daylight and sparked almost all major casino resorts to have nightclub managers for their 21-and-over pools. That’s what I thought was spot on about this daytime fun. Pool club managers set the scene by hiring deejays and asking high cover charges. People wait in line for hours for over-priced drinks because the venue appeals to a trendy Vegas crowd looking for fun in a new kind of way.
As the summer weather heats up in other cities, the challenge should be making consumers want beverages to quench their thirst and not grab the first drink for the cheapest price. When people are navigating a hot street festival are they thinking beer and soft drinks? Think beyond the usual suspects, and offer fresh mixed spirits or fruit drinks, wine, sangria, energy drinks, flavored waters, teas, etc.
Think outside the box in marketing or selling at seasonal events. Offer options that speak to discerning clientele, kitschy consumers or even trend followers, and craft and sell beverages that speak to consumers at targeted venues.
Thirsty for sauce
Summer barbeques are being spiced up with new beverage-inspired sauces. Vita Food Products Inc., Chicago, collaborated with Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages to turn soft drink brands into sauces and marinades. 7 UP Refreshing Citrus and Dr Pepper More Than Mesquite were created as marinades. Rich ‘N Hearty A&W BBQ Sauce and Sweet & Kickin’ Dr Pepper BBQ sauce are offered as an accompaniment. The company says the sauces will be available in grocery, gourmet, convenience stores and casual dining restaurants this summer.
Out of this world
Boldly going where only powdered beverages have gone before, Snapple made an interesting interplanetary move. Snapple has petitioned NASA to be considered as the exclusive beverage on board the space shuttle. If the petition is granted, the brand is considering changing its tagline from “The best stuff on Earth” to “The best stuff in the universe.”
Fuel for the troops
Atlanta’s Buckhead Coffee Co. has created an inspired way for coffee lovers to support U.S. troops. Company President J. David Stellwagen’s correspondence with Army Major Trevor Bredenkamp, who is stationed in Afghanistan, inspired the company’s A1000 project. For $41, consumers can purchase a package that includes two pounds of Buckhead Coffee Co.’s signature Brazil Highland Estate coffee, t-shirt and coffee mug. In addition, $10 will be donated to a fund to send half a ton of coffee to Afghanistan.
Liqueur takes the stage
With the help of former Mötley Crüe front man, Vince Neal, the Jägermeister Mobile Music Stage made its debut in Chandler, Ariz. The high-tech mobile stage extends from a 44-foot long trailer to create a 34-foot wide, 16-foot deep and 20-foot high concert stage with professional sound and lighting. Neil rocked the Arizona crowd with Mötley Crüe songs, Led Zeppelin covers and some new tunes. The stage will tour all summer and will be the Official Second Stage of heavy metal outdoor festival Ozzfest 2007.
Green fever
Mountain Dew is rolling out specially designed limited-edition aluminum bottles. As part of the Green Label Art project, Mountain Dew recruited multiple designers, including a musician and a tattoo artist, to create unique artwork. Each 16-ounce bottle will have an individual launch, which began in May with a Los Angeles party for the bottle designed by professional skateboarder, Paul Rodriguez, and skater-turned-artist, Chris Pastras. In addition, the artwork and designs will be featured on bicycles, hats, skateboards, video, clothing and CD covers. Consumers also will have a chance to design a bottle.
The Web site has become a destination for online videos of every sort. The newest attraction on the site is an online video contest to promote Malibu rum’s new Banana flavor. Consumers are invited to produce the most creative video interpretations for an updated version of the song “Banana Boat (Day-O),” made by DJ RJD2. Until the end of this month, You Tube visitors can view the submissions before the Top 10 finalists are judged for their originality, creativity and inventiveness. The winner will receive the deed to a tropical banana grove or $25,000 cash prize.