Recently my 19 year old daughter Liz pointed out a product in our neighborhood supermarket. Smack in the middle of the snack aisle, there was a basket full of what looked like kid’s juice pouches. Liz called my attention to the fact that the pouches were, in fact, single serve alcoholic beverages selling for $1.99 each. She stated that her first thought was that this was a highly “shopliftable” item for her peers. As we continued shopping, Liz pointed out several other locations where these items were placed, including next to the beer and in the “seasonal” aisle. Last week, I was in a convenience store in New Paltz and noted that these drink pouches were placed above the potato chip display in the middle of the center aisle.
I decided to find out more about these beverages through my good friend the internet. I found out that squeezable pouches are emerging as a big hit for alcohol marketers. Ad Age said sales of alcohol pouches jumped 153% to $154 million in the year ending June 23, according to Nielsen. Pouch drinks are making rapid distribution gains in grocery stores, and chains such as Walgreens and Walmart have begun stocking pouch brands in coolers at some stores.
Seagram’s website has an interactive map where you can find nearby outlets selling their Frozen Flavors line. Entering a Kingston zip code yielded 20 outlets within 5 miles. Seagram’s Escapes Frozen Flavors is a line of single-serve ready-to-drink frozen flavored malt beverages (FMBs). The lineup includes Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri, Piña Colada and Sangria. With 5 percent alcohol by volume, the frozen FMBs can be consumed directly from the 10-ounce pouch. Seagram’s states that “the product can be merchandised in the beer and cooler section, snack and seasonal aisles and on feature displays”. Seagram’s Escaped Frozen Flavors has a suggested retail price of $1.99 for a single-serve 10-ounce pouch and $7.99 for a four-pack.
Parrot Bay also sells a 10oz pouch for $1.99, and their products are also 5% alcohol by volume. Their site posts “Take all of the trouble out of making a good frozen drink! Parrot Bay tropical drinks are easy and great tasting. Just freeze, squeeze, and enjoy. Mixed perfectly every time. Great for outdoors.”
American Beverage Corp., manufacturer of the 8-ounce Little Hug Fruit Barrel drinks that have appeared in children’s lunch boxes since 1974, now manufactures Daily’s cocktails. “It’s the No. 1 brand (of frozen pouches), and we have about a 60 percent share of the market”. A blogger reviewing the pouches wrote “Daily's Ready to Drink pouches are an alcoholics dream. Booze (10 proof) premixed with the scrumptious flavor of your favorite mixed beverage. freeze, kneed, open, straw, YUM. Grab a handful! These pouches go right from the store to the freezer. The taste, consistency, and refreshment of a frozen blender drink…without the blender…the clean-up…the noise! You rip open the top and pour a slushy cocktail…into your glass, or right into your mouth.”
Daily’s also sells Daily's Single Serve Cocktails in bottles “They're appealing enough to drink from, easy to pour and perfect for taking with you anywhere. Enjoy warm, chilled or frozen" their site says.
Cordina reports that the company was started by three enterprising young men who were on a quest to make big bucks. “After seeing kids drink up Capri juices with straws at the beach they decided that alcoholic beverages in pouches would delight adult drinkers.” While many premixed cocktails are malt beverages (which use a malting process as opposed to fermentation or distillation), Cordina uses flavorless wine made from fermented orange juice.
$1.99 each, their products include the "Mar-Go-rita," the strawberry "Daiq-Go-ri," and the "Pina-Go-lada". “Our product will be in Walmart and Walgreens very soon." The newest 2012 addition is the watermelon "Mar-Go-rita" and the latest mix is the "Choc-Go-lada". According to developers, the flexible pouch is squeezable, economical and safe. “Throw the 'Go-ables' into a gym bag, purse or for thristy night owls, into a bra or undies to get through the velvet ropes undetected.”
Arbor Mist boasts that their products “don’t taste “alcoholic” at all". Arbor Mist launched its line in Walmart (in Merlot Blackberry, Pinot Grigio White Pear and White Zinfandel Strawberry flavors). A blogger notes, “there’s nothing stopping you from popping one in yourself (except maybe your date of birth, but hey, that’s what Bigs and RAs are for). So just grab a few, freeze them overnight and get yo’ illegal classroom-drank on the next day—all without ever using a blender or fake ID.” "Squeezable Vessels Are Convenient, Appealing to Young Drinkers" boast marketers of the popular new pouches.
Another article states "Mixing nostalgia for childhood with the thrill of drinking-on-the-go, or just plain laziness, may explain a new trend in which adults are buying pre-mixed cocktails in baggies that resemble children's juice boxes. Alcohol companies such as Smirnoff, Arbor Mist, and Parrot Bay have already marketed their own brands of portable cocktails in brightly-colored pouches—for those who find regular liquor bottles too cumbersome (not to mention stigmatizing) to carry around, as well as for those who find mixing drinks too onerous and time-consuming. And the pouches are selling like hot cakes. The companies' intention to make the product appeal to a younger demographic seems to have been successful".
Ulster Prevention Council