Heineken and Arizona Beverages partner to release hard seltzer

28 Oct 2020

Beer giant Heineken and iced tea maker Arizona Beverages are teaming up to release a hard seltzer beverage called SunRise Hard Seltzer, which the companies said will be available in the first quarter of 2021.

The 4.6% ABV beverage will be available in four flavors that are given their fruity taste with a “splash of real fruit”: Mucho Mango, Cherry Punch, Lemon and Grapefruit. Heineken said that its new hard seltzer will be sold in single serve cans and 12-packs with a variety mix of flavors.

Heineken and Arizona Beverages partner to release hard seltzer
Courtesy of Heineken

Hard seltzer continues to be the darling of the alcoholic beverage category. After reporting triple digit growth last summer, this most recent summer saw a similar expansion in sales – pandemic notwithstanding. Nielsen data from June showed that off-premise sales for the 52 weeks ended June 13 were up 127%. However, despite a proliferation of hard seltzer options thanks to nearly every Big Beer company stepping into the arena, the sector is still dominated by Mark Anthony Brands' White Claw and Boston Beer’s Truly.

Heineken is looking to edge further into the market through this partnership. Already the beer giant has its Canijilla line, which is a Mexican flavored hard seltzer that launched last year. More recently, the company debuted Bask, a new IPA-style hard seltzer brand. The partnership with Arizona Beverages gives the alcohol company yet another foothold in the market, but it does so from a different angle.

Family-owned Arizona Beverages is known for its 99-cent iced tea beverages, but it has recently been reported to be looking into other beverage opportunities, although no products have come yet onto the market. This hard seltzer looks to be the first step and will test the brand's ability to grow across categories. Through this partnership, Heineken will be able to leverage the tea brand’s appeal to a separate segment of consumers who are familiar and fans of the Arizona offerings.

In the press release, the companies underscored Arizona’s talent in creating fan-favorite beverages while heralding Heineken for its “strong relationships” with the distributor network in the United States and extensive manufacturing and brand building expertise in alcohol.

Even with experience in the space, it is going to be an uphill battle to bring attention to this new seltzer brand that is going to be launched during the winter months. Already, the space is crowded with new, regularly occurring launches as beverage manufacturers from Coca-Cola to Molson Coors are vying for shelf space and consumer attention.

However, the partnership with a brand that is known for tea may help Heineken expand the appeal of this hard seltzer beyond the core market and also offer consumers an opportunity to try hard seltzer at other times of the day like when they might perhaps otherwise reach for an iced tea.

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