Corona is branching out beyond beer with a trio of tropical-flavored refreshing booze-spiked beverages.
The beer brand’s first non-beer beverage, Corona Refresca, is a flavored malt beverage available in three varieties: Coconut Lime, Guava Lime and Passionfruit Lime. The Guava and Passionfruit flavored drinks will be available in six-packs ($9.99), while the Coconut Lime flavor can be found in a 12-pack ($16.99) with all three flavors.
The drinks will hit the market later this month in California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina before going nationwide in early May.
Corona’s new drinks, which weigh in at less than 199 calories per 12-ounce serving and 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, are the latest products in a trend that shows no signs of cooling off.
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Sparkling, refreshing flavored beverages and seltzers are big sellers within a mixed drinks category that saw sales rise 6 percent in 2018, according to International Wine and Spirits, a research firm that tracks the industry. Those products were outperformers in an overall U.S. beer and spirits industry that faced declines for the third straight year, IWSR says.
Among the top sellers are Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Spritzers, as well as Bud Light premium malt beverage drinks and Spiked Seltzers – just two of several beverages owned by Anheuser-Busch – and Redd’s and Steel Reserve drinks (owned by MillerCoors). White Claw Hard Seltzers had triple-digit growth in 2018, IWSR says.
Overall, sales of the top 20 selling flavored malt beverages rose 11.6 percent to $2.6 billion over the 52-week period ending Jan. 27, 2019, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, which tracks retail sales at grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores, mass market stores and other outlets.
“We know consumers are seeking an alternative malt beverage experience,” said Ann Legan, vice president of brand marketing for Corona, which tested Corona Refresca with consumers. The drinks are “for multi-cultural females and males who are looking for a premium spiked refresher that delivers a taste of the tropics,” she said.
Just as consumers have embraced sparkling waters as lower-sugar and lower-calorie alternatives, alcohol imbibers are also seeking healthier options with less booze, says IWSR’s U.S. president Brandy Rand. “As these products are also in cans, they are portable and convenient which appeals to consumers. They also fill a gap for non-beer drinkers looking for something easy to drink,” she said.
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