10 Boozy Delights That Should Be On Your Radar This Spring

Spring has sprung, temperatures are rising, and days are feeling a bit longer. Luckily there are plenty of new spirited products that have launched within the last year to help quench your growing thirst. From ice pops, to hard seltzers, and even non-alcoholic options that don’t skimp on flavor — there’s something for every type of booze hound this season.

For the frozen treat loverSLIQ Spirited Ice

Whether you’re a vodka, rum, or tequila fan, SLIQ Spirited Ice, the premium hard freezer pop created by the company behind childhood favorites like Otter Pops and Fla-Vor-Ice, is here for all your boozy needs.

With 12 flavors, SLIQ Spirited Ice covers all the bases. Blue Raspberry Vodka? Pineapple Daiquiri? Strawberry Margarita? Check, check, and check! Plus, SLIQ Spirited Ice is naturally flavored with ingredients that are gluten-free, vegan and kosher, and has less than 100 calories and 8% ABV per pop. Grab yours at retailers nationwide.

Forbes

 

SLIQ® Spirited Ice Line of Hard Freezer Pops is Recyclable Through TerraCycle® Nationwide

TRENTON, N.J.April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — SLIQ Spirited Ice, a premium hard freezer pop launched by 21 Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of the world’s leading freezer pop manufacturer, The Jel Sert Company, has partnered with international recycling leader, TerraCycle, to make their packaging nationally recyclable in the United States. SLIQ Spirited Ice has three core products, Vodka, Agave, and Rum, available at select retailers nationwide, including Albertsons and Walmart.

Through the SLIQ Recycling Program, consumers can send in all empty SLIQ Spirited Ice plastic tubes to TerraCycle to be recycled for free. Participation in the program is easy: sign up on the TerraCycle program page at https://www.terracycle.com/sliq and mail in the waste using the provided prepaid shipping label. Once collected, the plastic packaging waste is cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be used to make new recycled products.

“As we roll out SLIQ Spirited Ice nationwide, it has been a priority for us to find a sustainable solution that supports the brand’s convenience and ethos,” said Gavin Wegner, Senior Brand Manager for SLIQ Spirited Ice. “We are thrilled to be partnering with TerraCycle to create sustainable and recyclable products that consumers can send in free of charge in exchange for rewards to charities of their choice.”

By providing a viable recycling solution for the SLIQ Spirited Ice packaging at launch, Jel Sert is proactively solving their packaging waste and diverting it from the landfill. This is in line with the company’s sustainability commitments as laid out by their corporate Environmental Improvement Team. These commitments include optimizing shipping routes to minimize fuel usage, reducing waste generated in their manufacturing facility and corporate offices by maximizing the efficiency of key equipment, and using post-consumer recycled paper in packages, among many others.

“Through the creation of the SLIQ Recycling Program, customers have the unique opportunity to responsibly recycle their packaging and divert waste from landfills,” said TerraCycle CEO and Founder, Tom Szaky. “SLIQ connoisseurs participating in this recycling program, can have fun and enjoy the moment, but not at the expense of the planet.”

For more information on TerraCycle’s recycling programs, visit www.terracycle.com.

About SLIQ Spirited Ice
SLIQ Spirited Ice is a premium hard freezer pop. It is the brainchild of the leading freezer pop manufacturer for the last half-century, The Jel Sert Company, through its new subsidiary, 21 Holdings LLC, that exclusively produces the company’s 21+ items. The SLIQ brand leads a new frontier of alcohol that plays in the intersection of nostalgic classics and the modern, ready-to-drink, hard seltzer surge. With its three core products, Vodka, Agave, and Rum, SLIQ Spirited Ice offers classic flavors with a sophisticated, modern twist. Each freezer pop has fewer than 100 calories, 8% ABV, and offers just the right amount of sweetness with a portion-controlled single-serving in a convenient and portable package. SLIQ Spirited Ice is naturally flavored with ingredients that are gluten-free, vegan and kosher. SLIQ products are $17.99/9-pack with three flavors per box and are available at select retailers nationwide, including Albertsons, Walmart and more. Shipped shelf-stable, SLIQ Spirited Ice is meant to be enjoyed frozen. To learn more and to find a SLIQ near you, visit sliqspiritedice.com and follow along at @sliqspiritedice.

About TerraCycle
TerraCycle is an innovative waste management company with a mission to eliminate the idea of waste. Operating nationally across 20 countries, TerraCycle partners with leading consumer product companies, retailers and cities to recycle products and packages, from dirty diapers to cigarette butts, that would otherwise end up being landfilled or incinerated. In addition, TerraCycle works with leading consumer product companies to integrate hard to recycle waste streams, such as ocean plastic, into their products and packaging. Its new division, Loop, is the first shopping system that gives consumers a way to shop for their favorite brands in durable, reusable packaging. TerraCycle has won over 200 awards for sustainability and has donated over $44 million to schools and charities since its founding more than 15 years ago and was named #10 in Fortune magazine’s list of 52 companies Changing the World. To learn more about TerraCycle or get involved in its recycling programs, please visit www.terracycle.com.

Alcoholic Beverages Answer the Call During Stressful Times

The easy way to profit in the beverage alcohol category seems to be anything hard — namely waters, seltzers and other flavored drinks, as well as emerging better-for-you options in those segments and others. And with consumers and businesses alike facing an uncertain summer in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, these popular beverages can be marketed as providing folks an opportunity to relax and refresh.

Consumers in greater numbers are opting for these spirits, especially as the seasons change and the weather gets warmer. For example, when summer turns steamy, Tops Markets LLC is ready with thirst-quenching adult beverages for a variety of tastes.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

For summer imbibing, flavored malt beverages, particularly hard seltzers, are highly popular, along with better-for-you items across alcohol segments, aided by such strategies as sampling, grab-and-go placement, in-store displays, cross merchandising and digital engagement.

Beer in cans continues to rule the seasonal roost, with nonalcoholic options available.

Innovative, versatile formats such as freezable pops will keep customers excited by the category.

According to Jamie Szpylman, Tops’ category business manager for beer, wine and snacks, the Williamsville, N.Y.-based grocer promotes offerings through product sampling programs, advertising in its weekly flier to call out new items, a spotlight feature in the Tops Great Entertaining Spring & Summer magazine, cold-cooler placement, and in-store displays within the beer section, as well as cross merchandising around the store with complementary items. The supermarket chain also uses brewers’ digital consumer offers and giveaways to enhance the consumer experience, which the company communicates to its customers via digital media and its print ad.

“At Tops Markets, the total beverage alcohol category will see major volume increases over the summer months,” says Szpylman. “Roughly 40% of our total alcohol volume is done during the short summer season.  Every week during the summer, alcohol sales will be far greater than even Super Bowl week.”

Further, the retailer has experienced year-over-year sales growth in the alcohol category for the past two years. “We do see slight declines in true beer, including craft beer sales, but the explosion of flavored malt beverages, especially hard seltzers, has more than made up for those declines,” observes Szpylman, noting that the FMB segment has logged “triple-digit growth the last few years.”

As to consumers’ other alcohol preferences, he notes, “We are also seeing trends towards better-for-you beverages which are lower in artificial flavors, sugars and calories.”

READY FOR SUMMER

Tapping into both trends in time for summer is a new product line from Brewers Collective, the craft business unit of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch. LQD (pronounced L-Q-D) is “a beverage line for health-minded consumers that are unwilling to compromise on taste or quality.”

“After brainstorming with brewers from across the 13 craft partners that comprise Brewers Collective, it became apparent there was an opportunity to collaborate on a unique beyond-beer offering,” said Brewers Collective President Marcelo “Mika” Michaelis at the time of the product line’s March debut in select markets. “With craftsmanship and real ingredients at its core, LQD has provided our brewers with a platform through which they can directly and creatively address consumer needs.”

LQD’s products are brewed using simple, quality ingredients, such as real fruit, that are naturally fermented. Available in individual-flavor 6-packs and variety-tea 12-packs made from sustainable materials, the line comes in three flavors: Hard Agave Limeade, Hard Passion Fruit Green Tea and Hard Hibiscus Green Tea, with Hard Hibiscus Lemonade due this summer. All have an ABV of 5.2% to 5.9% and contain fewer than 200 calories.

Another recent summer-focused malt beverage introduction is sparkling Malibu Splash from New York-based Pernod Ricard USA in Strawberry, Lime, Passion Fruit and Pineapple flavors, sold in 4- and flavor-variety 8-packs.

Meanwhile, among other types of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, better-for-you options are also widely available, along with convenience.

“As the weather gets warmer, many consumers are hosting outdoor parties, dinners and barbecues, and rather than toil with creating cocktails for lots of guests, it’s easier to have RTDs on hand,” asserts Kimberly Diggs, content manager at Carrollton, Texas-based BuzzBallz, whose products are made with 100% juice and premium ingredients, and feature less sugar than other major brands, as well as no high-fructose corn syrup. “We’ve certainly observed spring and summer spikes in sales for other RTD brands; however, we generally aren’t seen as a seasonal purchase, which has allowed us to maintain steady sales year-round.”

Diggs adds that “we see the benefit of offering RTDs that are shareable during the warmer months, and have been exploring new flavor innovations and size formats over the course of the past year.” This month, BuzzBallz rolls out Uptown Wine Cocktails, a 1.5-liter RTD in six bold flavors, including Mango Margarita.

In merchandising its products, “BuzzBallz [has] found that our consumers enjoy the hunt of finding their flavor(s) of choice in dump bins,” notes Diggs. “It also showcases, in a visually appealing way, how compact our products are, which is convenient for consumers on the go. In our soft launch of Uptown Wine Cocktails, we’ve found that end cap displays and case stacks in high-traffic areas near meal solution centers of grocery stores have produced the most success for us.”

Additionally, Austin, Texas-based Canteen Spirits’ recently launched canned sparkling vodka-and-soda line offers a gluten-free product with zero carbs, zero sugar, zero sodium and just 99 calories per serving, in all-natural Watermelon, Lime, Black Cherry, Grapefruit and Cucumber Mint flavors, available in 6-packs.

‘BEER TIME’

Just because sales in the beer segment are down a bit at retailers like Tops doesn’t mean they’re out as an in-demand summer quaff for consumers, especially in a particular format.

“Summer has a few basic rules: Anything from the grill is always on the menu, photos posted on social media must be perfect, and cold beer must come in cans,” asserts Wesley Jaramillo, commercial marketing channel director — off-premise at Heineken USA, in White Plains, N.Y. “With the warmer weather comes a shift in consumer preference for cans over bottles. Cans cool faster and are more suitable for on-the-go, away-from-home consumption.

“We’re putting our focus on cans to ride the wave of 9% import can growth and 5% Heineken Original can growth,” adds Jaramillo, citing figures from Chicago-based Nielsen.

This month, for the beer brand’s Summer of Cans marketing initiative, the Heineken 15-pack is rolling out,  featuring 12 cans of Heineken Original and three cans of no-alcohol Heineken 0.0. “The new pack, which capitalizes on the trend in cans, provides an ideal configuration for summer entertaining and a no-alcohol alternative for times when beer drinkers want a great-tasting beer but without the alcohol,” explains Jaramillo. “Now there’s a pack of beer for anyone and everyone, anytime.”

What’s more, in regard to the rise of healthier beverages, he notes, “With better-for-you drink alternatives starting to make a bigger impact across the category, Heineken 0.0 is at the forefront of this trend, with a better-tasting no-alcohol, fewer-calorie beer proposition.”

Heineken’s summer program will focus on driving display execution, sales promotion and increased distribution of all can SKUs in all channels to encourage trade-up from lower-value beers, supporting 15-pack distribution and displays to boost sampling of Heineken 0.0, with the goal of sampling 10 million beer drinkers. “We will leverage the iconic green identity and brand positioning with engaging consumer mechanics that promote ‘fun with friends’ throughout the summer,” says Jaramillo.

Additionally, social posts will drive consumers to retail, where eye-catching merchandising will encourage purchase of Heineken cans and engage consumers in a sweepstakes. Consumers who share photos with Heineken, using the hashtag #CANdidSummerSweepstakes via Twitter or Instagram, are entered for a weekly chance to win a CANdid Summer prize box or the Grand Prize Custom Summer Vacation trip. A large 3-D can display enhancer prominently shows off the new Heineken lager can design to draw shopper attention to the product, while a wide range of additional POS enables visibility in all store formats.

“Summertime is beer time,” affirms Jaramillo. “Following the few basic summer rules will drive sales and profits and keep shoppers engaged and refreshed all summer long.”

THE LIGHTER SIDE

When it comes to wine, as in other beverage alcohol segments, better-for-you alternatives are coming to the fore, especially in summer.

“We’ve noticed that the fitness and health/wellness communities became early adopters of beverages like hard seltzer that are pushing the envelope and driving new trends,” says Mark R. Warren, co-founder of FitVine Wine, a Lodi, Calif.-based maker of wines that contain less sugar, fewer sulfites and no flavor additives. “That group, in particular, has shifted away from higher-sugar or heavy-calorie drinks in warmer months, and instead opted for drinks that are light and refreshing.”

Continues Warren: “Regarding wine consumption, we see rosé and white varietals become more popular in the spring and summer, aligning with the notion that people want something lighter. Given these are typically served chilled, we think it falls right in line with what consumers are looking for, especially those purchasing seltzers or light beer.” He notes that FitVine’s “Rosé, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay perfectly match the trends we’re seeing, and are an excellent fit for those seeking something lighter in the summer months.”

In marketing and merchandising the product, Warren observes: “The branding is critical. Wine can be intimidating, and there are a lot of choices, so the first goal is to stand out among the crowd and capture the consumer’s attention quickly. Knowing this, we recently redesigned our label and the packaging to give the brand a bold new look.”

The second imperative is “to communicate why your product is different,” he adds. “In our case, retail marketing and merchandising are meant to disrupt wine and get people to think, ‘What’s actually in this bottle I’m about to drink?’ The partners we work with at the retail level are helping to communicate the benefits of our product and are working directly with retailers to set up the type of displays that will appeal to their consumers.”

FREEZABLE, FUNCTIONAL AND FUN

Creative beverage alcohol formats are also enabling consumers to find optimal refreshment during the dog days of summer.

We’ve noticed that consumers have adopted a heightened awareness of ingredients, calorie count and alcohol content,” observes Ken Wegner, president of The Jel Sert Co., maker of SLIQ Spirited Ice, a new alcoholic freezer bar coming to stores in June. “We also observed that they are looking for innovative new products that are portable and enhance their social experiences. Whether they’re at a barbecue, a concert, or having a drink while engaging in summer activities, they want products that are convenient but also premium.”

As to SLIQ, which Wegner describes as “a modern take on the popular freezable treat that millions of consumers grew up loving,” the item “combines premium spirits infused with unique flavors and a sorbet-like texture that delivers a touch of sweetness and a ton of refreshment.”

In developing the product, West Chicago, Ill.-based Jel Sert “took a flavor-first approach,” he notes. “We have an exceptional R&D department that has been trusted by the top CPG brands in the world to launch new products featuring their iconic flavors. They applied decades of experience, innovative thinking, and the latest in food and beverage technology to SLIQ’s development process. The result was a perfectly balanced premium freezer bar offered at a competitive cost.”

According to Wegner, “SLIQ aligns perfectly with current drinking trends and consumption behavior that has been propelling the hard-seltzer space. It has portion control, a low calorie count, 8% ABV, innovative packaging, convenience, premium alcohol, and portability. It’s also functional and can be the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day.”

When developing SLIQ’s packaging, versatility was crucial. “We need consumers to be able to identify our product in several different scenarios and for retailers to be able to display it in a variety of ways,” explains Wegner. “Our packaging was designed to allow for individual bar sales, 9-count carton sales and displayable case stacking.”

He adds: “From a marketing standpoint, we’re focused on creating opportunities for consumers to engage with both the brand and the product. We want to show them that SLIQ can be easily incorporated into their lifestyles and also enhance their social experiences. We are currently planning activations at summer festivals, creating local retail activations in key markets and participating in top-tier trade shows.”

What’s more, SLIQ is just the beginning of Jel Sert’s move into beverage alcohol, according to Wegner. “We plan to continue to grow and innovate in this new category, and are already looking to the future,” he says. “From sample sizes to jumbo or twin tubes, we can continuously introduce innovations into the marketplace, keeping consumers interested and excited.”

SOON TO BE ON TAP?

When asked what they see ahead for beverage alcohol, suppliers focused on a few important attributes.

Unsurprisingly, Wegner predicts: “We think the alcohol category will see more innovation, with an increased focus on functional products that complement the hard-seltzer space. We also believe flavors will be a key driver for purchase, as well as variety packs.”

“With almost 10 years in business, we’ve seen the trends in RTDs evolve,” notes BuzzBallz’ Diggs. “In past years, consumers were not concerned with product ingredients, but today’s consumers are more knowledgeable. We envision many retailers showcasing RTDs committed to high-quality, natural ingredients to cater to these consumers. There will also be a rise in fruit-forward flavors as consumers continue their quest to healthier lifestyles. Though there will also be a need for products that allow consumers to indulge, which evoke a sense of comfort, many of these products will still need to maintain those quality standards to stay competitive. With the rise in Americans willing to pay a luxury tax on convenience via grocery delivery, we also predict retailers will begin spotlighting RTDs in an effort to drive those consumers into stores.”

“We see the consumers demanding more out of both alcohol brands and retailers,” observes FitVine’s Warren. “We’ve also seen brands start to be more transparent about what’s in their products and what their benefits are. That’s almost the bare minimum for entry for brands who are looking to capture the growth of this new health-and-wellness category.”

He adds: “It’s to the point now where retailers set up specific sections or displays for brands that are catering to consumers looking for something with fewer calories, sugar or carbs. … All in all, it’s more transparency of ingredients, of the brand itself, and quality of the products being delivered.”

Progressive Grocer

MAKERS OF FLA-VOR-ICE AND OTTER POPS LAUNCH NEW PREMIUM ALCOHOLIC FREEZER BAR, SLIQ SPIRITED ICE

SLIQ to define a new category of alcohol, taking the popular 21+ novelty mainstream

WEST CHICAGO, IL, Feb. X, 2020 – Adult Fla-Vor-Ice and Otter Pops fans will rejoice this summer as The Jel Sert Company announced the launch of SLIQ Spirited Ice, a new premium alcoholic freezer bar poised to revolutionize mixology on ice, literally. The world’s leading manufacturer of freezer bars, responsible for producing billions of bars each year, has evolved its product line for the 21+ crowd and set out to define a new category of alcohol that plays off the popularity and success of ready-to-drink and hard seltzer beverages. 

 

When it comes to spirits, SLIQ won’t play favorites. The brand will ensure there’s something for everyone by launching with three premium spirits including, Vodka, Agave, and Rum, each infused with elevated flavors and a super smooth sorbet-like texture. The full flavor line-up includes: 

  • Vodka infused Spirited Ice in Lemonade, Cranberry & Grapefruit, and Blue Raspberry
  • Agave infused Spirited Ice in Classic Margarita, Strawberry Margarita, and Mango Margarita
  • Rum infused Spirited Ice in Strawberry Daiquiri, Coconut & Lime Daiquiri, and Pineapple Daiquiri

SLIQ was created to taste great and look even better. Each freezer bar is 100 calories or less, 8% ABV, just the right amount of sweetness, and an Insta-worthy design that is always ready to be shared. SLIQ’s convenient and portable packaging makes it perfect for cameo’s at pool parties, festivals, BBQs, and anywhere things get social.  

“SLIQ is a modern take on the classic freezer bar, giving our adult customers the alcoholic version of the immensely popular freezable treat they grew up loving,” said Ken Wegner, President of The Jel Sert Company. “When we began the process of creating SLIQ, we knew we wanted to create something exceptional. We applied decades of experience, innovative thinking, and the latest in food and beverage technology with the elements we knew were most important to our adult customers; premium spirits, expansive flavor options, portability, convenience, low-calorie count, and portion-control, all wrapped up in photo-worthy packaging. We didn’t just set out to make the best tasting alcoholic freezer bar on the market, we set out to create a product that would redefine the way people enjoy alcohol, responsibly, and we think SLIQ will do exactly that.”

SLIQ will be manufactured by 21 Holdings, a new division of The Jel Sert Company that will exclusively produce the company’s 21+ items. For more information, please visit www.SLIQSpiritedICE.com,

Instagram.com/SLIQSpiritedIce, and Facebook.com/SLIQSpiritedIce.

About The Jel Sert Company

The Jel Sert Company is a family-owned business that’s been at the forefront of innovation in the food and beverage industry since 1926. For nearly a century, generations of families have enjoyed Jel Sert’s products, which include dessert mixes, drink mixes, and freezer bars. The Jel Sert Company’s products are exclusively made in West Chicago, Illinois, with over 1,000 employees sharing the company’s passion for creating high-quality, high-value products. For more information, visit www.jelsert.com