Back in the 1980's, wine coolers were all the rage.
Ladies, especially, loved the fruity sweetness of a wine cooler.
Could sweet, fruity craft beers be the wine coolers of 2017?
Although the wine cooler trend may seem to have cooled, the truth is that there are true loyalists. Discover what keeps a consumer coming back time and time again to pick-up a 4-pack, or case, of their favorite wine cooler and you have discovered the key to tapping this market for your own sweet, fruity craft brew.
By The Numbers
Around the mid 1980's, on average, about 50 million cases of wine coolers were sold on the American beverage market. That was nearly one-fourth of the nation's entire wine consumption. The heydey of wine coolers lasted about a decade, fizzling out to less than 0.1 percent of the same market it once had commanded a strong presence.
What happened around 2005 to lure away the faithful?
The New Kid On The Block
In 2005 the U.S. organic food movement began to pick up steam. By 2006, organic food sale revenue had increased by 22%.
For the alcohol industry, the transition to locally produced craft beer began.
Wine cooler popularity declined because there was a new kid on the block who was the kind of guy a gal could take home to meet the folks: a healthier, cleaner option.
One Thing Remains The Same
It seems that wine cooler enthusiasts, who preferred their previous beverage of choice because of its sweetness, were willing to sacrifice their taste buds for the sake of principle.
Although consumer awareness was the driving force behind their new choice, that awareness was really the only thing that had changed. The craving for sweet, fruity flavors remained, tickling their taste buds from time to time as this craving went unmet. Consider that, in 2014, chocolate sales increased nearly 3%. Market growth for premium chocolate sales was nearly 11%. So, consumers turned away from wine coolers, not because of flavor, but because of a desire to have a product that aligned with their conscience.
But what if the craft beer market could deliver on all fronts? What if wine cooler lovers could have the best of both worlds: the flavor they desired yet produced according to the principles they want to uphold?
Some breweries have already discovered this little secret about the rise and fall of wine coolers.
They have already gotten their own delectable delights bottled and launched.
Marketed with a strategy designed to appeal to chocolate lovers who prefer to pair their bon-bons with vino has resulted in resounding success.
In February of 2016 Dogfish Head brewery released its IPA, Romantic Chemistry, that touted flavors of apricot, ginger and mango. It timed the launch to coincide with Valentine's Day. Available for sale online, the fact that many online retailers list Romantic Chemistry as sold out is a testimony to this particular fruity brew's success.
Now, this may be the perfect beer to replace wine cooler affection in the hearts of the ladies, but what about the guys? Well, there seems to be masculine versions of confectionery inspired brews that appeal to them as well.
Boys At Heart
The old saying seems to be true where male beer drinkers are concerned, guys just never really grow up. They seem to stay kids at heart.
Maybe that's why hard root beer sales have skyrocketed. Whether they are drinking it cold and straight or enjoying an adult twist on the traditional root beer float, this is definitely the craft beer that could become 2017's version of the 1980's wine cooler.
What can you pair it with?
From burgers to grilled salmon, that syrupy texture slides down deliciously. Even better, it's FUN to drink. And these craft brews put the sweetness of fruity beers to shame. Drinking hard root beer is like slurping a sugar bomb. This could become the party trend beverage of 2017.
If you haven't developed your own drippingly sweet craft brew, then you are missing out on a thriving, loyal market, as well as seasonal sales that are fine-tuned for fun, sugary drinks.
And once you have perfected your own sugar bomb recipe, trust its future success to promotional professionals who specialize in the craft alcohol market.