PepsiCo creates potato chip vodka, sells out in hours

17 Jan 2022

PepsiCo took another step into the alcohol category when it launched Lay’s Potato Vodka in December. However, this foray into alcohol did not last long as the trial product sold out in a matter of hours, according to a post by the company on Twitter.

The potato-based vodka was made using the same potatoes that are used in Lay’s chips, and the spirit was manufactured as part of a partnership between PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division and Eastside Distilling from Portland, Oregon. When it was available, the branded vodka retailed for $40 a bottle.

PepsiCo creates potato chip vodka, sells out in hours
Courtesy of Frito Lay

PepsiCo has been slowly blurring the lines between imbibing and teetotaling by moving into the alcohol category as it seeks to reach the growing number of consumers that are interested in libations. With U.S. alcohol consumption increasing by 45 million cases in 2020, According to the Beverage Information Group data cited by Forbes, it is no surprise that PepsiCo is looking to expand its market to grab the attention of some of these shoppers.

Already, the company has experimented with booze through its partnership with Boston Beer where the duo created a Mtn Dew Hard Seltzer that is expected to launch early this year. Bloomberg also previously reported that the multinational filed a trademark application to register its Rockstar energy as a name to be used for alcoholic beverages.

As this soda giant decides how far it would like to go into the alcohol category, it will likely continue to test the waters through branded pairings where the PepsiCo name recognition is evident even on cross-category products. Crossovers like this Lay's potato vodka are proving to resonate with consumers.

“And you never know what future plans we have up our sleeves! We love to keep our fans guessing as to what is coming next,” Frito-Lay North America Senior Director of Marketing Melissa Miranda said in a statement.

Nor is PepsiCo alone in its efforts to transition a portion of its product portfolio into the alcohol category. The company’s rival Coca-Cola has also made the leap, announcing in 2020 that it would partner with Molson Coors to produce Topo Chico Hard Seltzer. Similarly, the fast-food chain Arby’s released two vodkas that were flavored like their Curly Fries and crinkle fries. Kraft Heinz also used its Grey Poupon mustard brand to launch a flavored wine from the south of France this past fall.

As the $250 billion American alcohol market continues to entice brands to step into the category and shave off a piece of market share to supplement their bottom lines, it will not be surprising to see this trend continue in the future.

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