Although many beverages are launched as stand-alone products, Liquid Ice was launched with mixology in mind. When Liquid Management
Partners LLC, Lake Success, N.Y., released its first energy drink, Liquid Ice Blue, back in March 2003, it aimed for on-premise fame by tapping into the creativity of bartenders.
“Mixology is a term that is synonymous with Liquid Ice,” says Michael H. Lam, president of Liquid Management Partners. “We encourage participating on-premise locations to offer the opportunity for their bartenders to create their own recipes with Liquid Ice, and we receive countless recipes every day from fans and bartenders.”
The company highlights some of these recipes on its website to encourage more bartenders and at-home mixologists to incorporate the energy drink portfolio into cocktails. Lam says that the energy drinks are suitable for mixing with a variety of spirits and other mixers. For example, the brand suggests mixing Liquid Ice Blue with passion fruit rum and pineapple juice for a tropical drink offering or with vanilla vodka for an energized shot.
And when the brand develops new products, it ensures that the energy drinks taste great with and without alcohol and other mixers, Lam notes. “Liquid Ice has become the essential ingredient in a cocktail,” Lam says. As a cocktail ingredient, Liquid Ice gives the consumer an extra energy boost to continue his or her night out with friends, the company says.
This role as a cocktail mixer has helped the brand solidify its on-premise distribution and increase sales in the channel, Lam says. “On-premise sales are the main focus for our company and the foundation of our brand strategy,” he says. “In the last two years, we have seen the highest increase in volume and consumption of the Liquid Ice products in our on-premise accounts. Our very healthy margins for our distributors and retailers get the product in the door, and then the product itself increases sales with high re-purchase sales. … [O]ur marketing strategy is to be the best-tasting energy drink and the ultimate mixer.”
As consumers in the on-premise channel become more familiar with Liquid Ice as a mixer, they’ve started to seek it out in off-premise locations for at-home consumption as a daytime energy drink Lam says. In this channel, the brand targets consumers aged 18 and older who need an extra boost of energy, “whether you are cramming for your next exam, feeling sluggish at work, preparing for a workout, or getting ready for a night out,” he says.
When the brand launched Liquid Ice Red, the company’s first new product in more than 10 years, in July last year, it really captured off-premise attention and helped increase brand sales, Lam recounts. In the same month, the brand also launched Liquid Ice Zero, which offers the same taste and benefits of Liquid Ice Blue but without carbohydrates or sugar.
Liquid Ice Blue, the original SKU, currently is the brand’s bestseller, but Liquid Ice Red has been rapidly expanding since last summer and is quickly catching up to the top-seller, Lam notes.
This year, the brand plans to continue its new product innovation with the launch of Liquid Ice Orange this spring. Like the other varieties, Liquid Ice Orange has a “unique, individual flavor that tastes great right off the shelf or in your mixed drink,” Lam says.
“We are constantly looking for innovative flavors that elevate the industry’s taste to new standards, and our inspiration always comes down to what our customers demand,” Lam says of the new product. “Citrus-flavored juices are one of the top go-to mixers on-premise, but our consumers are looking for an alternative to old-fashioned juices. We predict Liquid Ice Orange will meet that demand with a unique yet captivating taste that will exceed all expectations.”
Each of the four varieties of Liquid Ice blends natural flavors with vitamins B3, B5, B6 and B12 for energy and endurance benefits, Lam adds.
Through its expanded distribution, Liquid Ice Blue, Red and Zero currently are available in on- and off-premise locations in 41 states, including in Rite Aide, Casey’s General Store, Holiday Stationstores, Loaf 'N Jug, QuikTrip, SuperAmerica and some local chain operations through distribution deals with Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and participating Coca-Cola and Pepsi distributors. The energy drinks are available in 8.3- and 12-ounce cans for suggested retail prices of $1.89 and $2.29, respectively. The company also offers promotional pricing for two-packs at $3 for two 8.3-ounce cans and $4 for two 12-ounce cans. Consumers nationwide also can purchase Liquid Ice online by the case.
In the next year, the brand plans to continue to expand its distribution and further entrench itself in off-premise accounts. “On-premise and off-premise sales have been growing year over year since 2003, with off-premise sales reaching new heights in 2014,” Lam explains. “The introduction of Liquid Ice Red to our product offerings has gained momentum in our off-premise initiatives. We expect sales volumes of our off-premise sales to equal our on-premise sales by the end of 2015 as we are, more than ever, a well-balanced brand. … Every bartender, college student, fitness enthusiast and lazy couch sitter will be energized with Liquid Ice.”