Progressive Grocer

DEC 2016

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December 2016 | | 55 C raft sodas are worlds away from traditional carbonated soft drinks. e products are created to be savored and consumed as a special treat, include natural ingredients, and carry higher price points than mass-brand carbonated beverages. "We're creating unique flavors that provide an elevated experience for consumers," says Sharelle Klaus, CEO of Seattle-based DRY Sparkling. "We're not suggesting a consumer drink six of these a day. ey are meant to be a treat." DRY Sparkling soda, made with a touch of cane sugar, comes in 10 standard and two limited-edition flavors. "Food gifts are on the rise, and these bottles make a great gift item," notes Breeanna Marchitto, VP of marketing for DRY Sparkling. A 4-pack of DRY Sparkling retails for $6.99 and is typically merchandised with other carbonated bev- erages, while single-serves, which retail for around $1.99, are merchandised in the grab-and-go section. Ready to Pop More value-priced specialty sodas are benefiting from the mix-and-match trend in supermarkets. Harris Teeter's 4-foot specialty and craft soda sec- tion features iconic old-time brands from Mukilteo, Wash.-based Orca Beverage, such as Dad's Root Beer and Moxie, in glass bottles in a mix-and- match five-for-$6 everyday price deal. Specialty soda brands are also a big focus at San Francisco-based confectionery chain Lolli and Pops, where they get 8 feet of space in their own cooler. e chain also devotes significant space to Japanese Ramune Soda in flavors such as wasabi, kimchi, bubble gum and curry. e beverages, which are moving beyond Asian markets, could be a segment to watch. Single-serves drive artisanal craft sodas as well. "Single-serve sales drive repeat purchases for us, particularly among consumers who have left the CSD category," notes Kevin Li, marketing manager for Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Bruce Cost Ginger Ale. Crafted Cocktails Ginger ale is one of the strongest segments of the category. Reed's, maker of Virgil's Root Beer and Reed's Ginger Beer, recently introduced 7-ounce bottles in a 4-pack targeted for cocktail mixing. "Our products are usually merchandised in the carbonated section, but additional space near liquor gives us a big incremental opportunity," says Neal Cohane, SVP of sales and marketing at Los Angeles-based Reed's. According to Andrew Virciglio, beer and wine buyer at Crestline Piggly Wig- gly in Mountain Brook, Ala., ginger beer has taken off at the chain. "We merchandise ginger beer in the soda aisle and in an additional location near liquor as well," he says. Virciglio recently expanded the craft soda selection at the Crestline store. e line between sodas and mixers is blurring as consumers snap up sparkling beverages in flavors such as DRY Sparkling's serrano pepper, lavender, cucumber and, of course, ginger, for crafting cock- tails at home. "e cocktail-mixer solution cat- egory wasn't something we initially anticipated, but our products are so flavor-forward they have taken off with the craft cocktail trend for people who are creating these drinks at home," says DRY Sparkling's Klaus. "Consumers aren't going to spend a lot of money on a bottle of craft gin or vodka, and then mix it with a 99-cent bottle of tonic." Brooklyn-based Q Drinks, which manufactures Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer, Kola, Club Soda and Tonic, is positioning its beverages as mixers with the tagline "the world's best spirits deserve Q." "Premium and super-premium spirits make up 60 percent of dollar sales volume in spirits," says Q Drinks CEO Joran Silbert. "It makes sense that they want their mixer, which is three-quarters of a cocktail, to have the same quality and sophistication." PG Crafting CSDs Premium positioning takes craft sodas outside the beverage aisle. By Barbara Sax "Consumers aren't going to spend a lot of money on a bottle of craft gin or vodka, and then mix it with a 99-cent bottle of tonic." —Sharelle Klaus, DRY Sparkling Beverage Su PP lement

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