It’s no secret that the customization trend is spreading like wildfire throughout the beverage industry. Beverage-makers are developing products to serve not just the broad public anymore but also the more niche demographics. NBC’s variety show “Saturday Night Live” even created its own skit this fall about a 24-hour energy drink designed for those who are dating actresses. Demonstrating the need for extra energy to deal with the highs and lows of the acting world, the skit promoted the times when boyfriends require that extra energy to support their actress girlfriends. To add even more humor to the skit, it ended with a promo for a 24-hour energy drink for those who are dating comedians.
Although the “Saturday Night Live” interpretations are a little too extreme, the highlights at this year’s National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) tradeshow (page 9) showcase the influence that the more targeted segments are having on the marketplace.
Among targeted products was Cowboy Up Energy, a brand of Jal, N.M.- based Zia Beverage Co. LLC. The brand features a horseshoe and cattle skull for its logo that might appeal to the cowboys out there. Made with apple juice, Cowboy Up does not contain artificial preservatives or added sugar. Its innate 19 grams of sugar come from the apple juice, the company says. Designed with natural living in mind, the brand was founded by Ryan Leon, an energy drink industry veteran, and Bert and Montie Carol Madera, who own Pitchfork Cattle Co. The partnership merged Leon’s industry experience with Bert’s cowboy authenticity and Montie Carol’s business operations experience, according to the company’s website. Although not just limited to male consumers, the brand also announced at NACS that it plans to release a Cowgirl Up variety.
Skinnygirl Founder Bethenny Frankel also has contributed to this trend of niche demographics. After selling her Skinnygirl Cocktails brand to Beam Inc., Deerfield, Ill., Frankel made her first venture into the non-alcohol sector with AriZona Beverage Co., Cincinnati, with the release of Skinnygirl Sparklers. The sparkling waters are targeted toward women who are watching their figures and are made with real fruit juice, six essential vitamins, superfruit extracts and green tea polyphenols.
“I wanted to give my fans a delicious alternative to plain sparkling water and sodas,” Frankel said in a statement. “My new Skinnygirl Sparklers are light, refreshing, fun and flirty, and I am excited to partner up with AriZona Beverage to bring my vision to life.”
Available in select test markets, Skinnygirl Sparklers were originally released in Tangerine Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Pink Grapefruit and Pineapple Coconut varieties; however, Frankel also announced the “Create The Next Skinnygirl Sparkler Contest,” which invited consumers to develop new flavors for the Skinnygirl Sparkler line. The winning mixologist received a $10,000 cash prize from AriZona Beverage Co.
With so many differing minds and opinions out there, I suspect beverage-makers will continue to target the niche markets, and I’m excited to see what they come up with next.