New releases

Could Hard Solo be the next big thing in drinks?

In the hunt for growth, drinks companies are experimenting in new categories that blur the lines between beer, soft drinks and spirits. Enter Asahi Beverages’ alcoholic version of Aussie favourite soft drink Solo, called Hard Solo.

The iconic Solo soft drink is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. It was launched in 1973 and its beloved ads over the years have featured four main actors, including the original Michael Ace in the ‘70s and ‘80s, comedian Joel Creasey’s father Terry and, more recently, Wollongong’s Adam Demos who is currently starring in the Hollywood hit show “Sex/Life”.

Today, almost 60 million litres of Solo, including no-sugar Solo Zero, are consumed by Australians each year. The iconic lemon tang brand remains in over 1.7 million Australian households.

CUB spokesman Hayden Turner said Hard Solo had a taste reminiscent of the classic Solo but with a bitter finish provided by the alcohol.

The drink comes in four, 10 and 24-packs of 375mL cans and has an ABV of 4.5%.

US drinks companies bank on hard sodas

The release of Hard Solo follows an American boom in branded soft drinks creating “hard” versions of their best sellers.

Hard Mtn Dew

Last year Mountain Dew got a boozy boost when PepsiCo released Hard Mtn Dew.

The New York Times reports: “Hard Mtn Dew reflects a major change in the alcohol industry, which for the last century mainly produced drinks categorized as beer, wine or spirits. In recent years, those lines have blurred, and a fourth category of ready-to-drink beverages has emerged — hard seltzers and other flavored malt beverages, wine coolers and canned cocktails.”

Fans have literally lapped it up.

“I drank Hard Mountain Dew and felt like I was staring at God,” one online reviewer wrote.

Pepsico also released Lipton Hard Iced Tea, while Monster Beverage, a maker of energy drinks, began rolling out its first line of alcoholic drinks called The Beast Unleashed in February.

Hard lemon RTDs a winner

CUB CEO Danny Celoni said Hard Solo has hit the market with “real impact” and he was looking forward to unlocking category value growth.

It follows Beam Suntory celebrating 24% growth versus the pre-pandemic in its 2022 full-year results, with “explosive growth” of -196 RTDs in Australia one of the key highlights.

Double Lemon is number one RTD launch in Australia the past five years.

The name -196 is a reference to the intense production process involved in creating the product. Whole lemons are frozen in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C, then pulverized and soaked in alcohol – creating an extreme lemon drink.

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