Tis the Season
Elizabeth Fuhrman
Managing Editor

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 packaging.
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.
Exclusif party
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.
Personalized sweepstakes
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.
Beverage guide
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.