Betting on the Next 'It' Drink

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CSP enlisted the help of Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director for market research firm GlobalData, London (formerly known as Canadean), and career trend watcher, to break down six beverages that might just blow the lid off 2017.

We've placed odds on each with this Scale of Lid-Blowing Potential:

1 A blip

2 A buzz

3 A burst

4 A blast

Here's a peek at our betting form ...

Alcohol water

Smirnoff spiked seltzer

Alcohol Water

Category: Alcohol beverages

Spiked seltzer, boozy water: Whatever you call it, the next-gen wine cooler is here. With big names such as Smirnoff (Spiked Sparkling Seltzer), MillerCoors (Zumbida) and Mike’s Hard (White Claw Hard Seltzer) all jumping into the spiked-seltzer fray in 2016, “this year will be the summer of alcoholic waters,” Vierhile says.

Odds of catching on: 4

'Clean' energy drinks

Runa energy

'Clean' Energy Drinks

Category: Energy drinks

The category continues battling negative health connotations regarding caffeine content and processing. As a result, “better-for-you, less processed energy drinks ... is where the market is headed,” says Vierhile. He admits clean energy might not catch on as much in the more male-oriented, blue-collar c-store realm. Still, he says, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Odds of catching on: 3.5

Cold-brew coffee

Cold-brew coffee

Cold-Brew Coffee

Category: RTD coffee

“A lot of bigger retailers are giving cold brew more shelf space,” Vierhile says. They’re also increasingly buying into a derivative of cold brew—nitro cold brew—that has caught on in urban markets for its cool factor and smooth flavor. The category’s capability to convert energy drinkers also gives it sky-high potential at the c-store level.

Odds of catching on: 4

Protein-enhanced drinks

Protein water

Protein Drinks

Category: Functional beverages

Despite growing murmurs about the potential of overconsumption, protein will likely remain a top theme in 2017, considering more than half of consumers are pledging to up their intake, according to the International Food and Information Council. Brands are looking to broaden protein-enhanced beverages’ appeal beyond their sports-nutrition origins via so-called “in-betweener” products, Vierhile says.

Odds of catching on: 2.5

Grown-up soda

Pepsi 1893 soda

Grown-Up Soda

Category: Soft drinks

One of few bright spots for declining soft drinks has been the emergence of upmarket craft sodas. Flavors range from orange hibiscus to candied-bacon cream soda. And last year, 7-Eleven took direct aim at millennials with the launch of its 7-Select craft-soda line with Jones Soda. “Craft sodas are an area you’re going to see a lot more growth [in] across channels,” Vierhile says.

Odds of catching on: 3

Sour and Floral Flavors

Sipp dinks

Sour and Floral Flavors

Category: All

Beverage makers are “feeling their oats to experiment with profiles that aren’t sweet,” reaching instead for floral, herbal and even sour flavors, Vierhile says. Sipp Sparkling Organics’ (sold at Target) lemon flower soda is flavored with lemon, elderflower and tarragon. Elsewhere, the growing popularity of kombucha is prompting sourer beverage rollouts such as Southeast Asian-inspired drinking vinegars.

Odds of catching on: 1