CHICAGO -- It's an eternal double-edged sword of category management: Beverage companies crank out so many new products, it's impossible to give them all trial in convenience stores, but on the other hand, innovation that hits the mark can provide a necessary category boost or even create a whole new subcategory; no one wants to miss out on that winner.
So where do retailers turn to learn about the most-vital new products coming to the industry?
CSP’s sister publication, Convenience Store Products, amassed a collection of its most-clicked items in 2016 for its third annual Hot 100.
From that list of 100 items—everything from dipping sauces to beacon technology—emerged a dozen packaged beverage products and another eight related items that garnered the most attention from readers. Here they are as ranked in the Hot 100 list …
100: Nth Degree Enhanced Sports Drink
The Enhanced Sports Drink from Nth Degree does not contain preservatives, artificial ingredients or artificial colors. It comes in flavors such as fruit punch, orange, raspberry and lemonade, and is certified low glycemic in human clinical trials. This product uses the natural sweetener Palatinose, which is made from sugar beets and is absorbed five-times slower in the body providing athletes with extra energy and endurance. It also supports fat burning.
98: The Ginger People Bottoms Up
Bottoms Up ginger beer is made with single-origin ginger and a clean ingredient list. By not filtering, blending, using extracts or adding fruit juices, Bottoms Up offers a classic ginger-beer option. The authentic flavor also makes it an ideal mixer for popular ginger-based cocktails, the company says. The producer made some upgrades by cutting the sugar content and switching to pry-off crown seals to maintain the highest quality and optimum oxygen barrier.
85: Island Squeeze Pouch
Six new Island Squeeze flavors are available from Phusion Projects: Strawberry Daiquiri Light, Margarita Light, Blue Hawaiian Light, Mango Peach Light, Dreamsicle and Key Lime. Pouches can be frozen and poured into a glass or served over ice. Consisting of 6% alcohol by volume, Island Squeeze is available in 12-packs of 10-ounce, single-serve pouches with an SRP of $1.99 per pouch. The new varieties join existing cocktail flavors Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Colada, Margarita and Pink Lemonade Light.
78: Angry Orchard’s Orchard's Edge Knotty Pear and Old Fashioned
Orchard’s Edge consists of two new cider styles: Knotty Pear and Old Fashioned. Both varieties are aged using American oak and feature nonapple fruit such as pears and oranges, along with exotic spices such as cardamom. Knotty Pear is 6.5% ABV, while Old Fashioned (6.5% ABV) features a bright apple flavor and slight vanilla. They are available in six-packs for an SRP of $11.99.
77: Seagram’s Escapes Pink Pineapple Passion and Orange Sassy Swirl
Seagram’s is partnering with recording artist Kelly Rowland on the launch of two new signature Seagram’s Escapes flavors—Pink Pineapple Passion (sweet and tropical with a splash of watermelon) and Orange Sassy Swirl (smooth with a hint of vanilla). Also exclusively available on the Seagram’s Escapes website is Rowland’s new recording “Gimme Love.”
62: Black iGuana Cocktail
Black iGuana Cocktails are ready-to-drink straight from the pouch or served chilled over ice, slushy or frozen. The 10-ounce single-serve pouches contain 5.5% alcohol by volume and are available in Classic Lime, Strawberry, Peach and Pina Colada. The pouches are equipped with reclosable spouts to increase the consumer’s experience.
45: Coca-Cola Powerade Lemonade
The new limited-edition 32-ounce Powerade Lemonade is formulated with the Ion4 Advanced Electrolyte System and helps replace four electrolytes lost in sweat. The newest Powerade campaign, “Just A Kid,” aims to inspire by taking a passionate stand for the potential in every young athlete, according to the company.
24: Henry's Hard Soda
MillerCoors unveiled Henry's Hard Soda, a new line of refreshing hard sodas made with real cane sugar. Sodas are 4.2% alcohol by volume, and are available in familiar flavors such as Ginger Ale and Orange Soda. Henry's Hard Soda has a smooth, moderate body, mild effervescence and a satisfying finish with refreshing, distinctive twists that vary by flavor.
16: Ice Dog Slushie
Ice Dog, rolling out in a Cherry Limeade flavor, is a ready-to-drink 4-ounce 100% juice pouch that transforms into a healthy slush variety when frozen, according to the manufacturer. Packaged in a stand-up pouch, Ice Dog contains 100% juice, all-natural flavor, no artificial color or added sugar and is low in calories. The product contains vitamin A, B12, 100% daily value of vitamin C, and is also regarded as a good source of fiber.
15: Extra Kinky Pink, Gold and Blue spirits
As part of its Kinky Cocktails line, Kinky Beverage Co. is launching Extra Kinky in 16-ounce cans and in three flavors with an ABV of 8%. Extra Kinky Pink is a fusion of mango, blood orange and passion fruit; Extra Kinky Gold is a blend of peach and tropical fruits; and Extra Kinky Blue is a combination of wild berry and tropical fruits. These varieties join the premium vodka Kinky Pink Liqueur. In addition to Extra Kinky cans, the product line offers 12-ounce bottles in all three flavors with an ABV of 5%.
13: Minute Maid Sparkling
Coca-Cola unveiled a new take on sparkling water called Minute Maid Sparkling. This new beverage is made with 6% juice. It launched in March in 16.9-ounce slim bottles with 35 calories per bottle. Flavors include fizzy lemonade, mixed berry, tropical citrus and fruit punch.
7: Nesquik Protein Plus
Nesquik Protein Plus flavored milk is packed with 13 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving. The variety is made with 28% less sugar than the leading protein-enhanced flavored milk, according to the company. It contains no artificial sweeteners. Similar to all Nesquik ready-to-drink (RTD) products, it’s made with real milk. The variety comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors in 14-ounce RTD sizes.
Not exactly packaged beverages, these eight related products also made the Convenience Store Products list:
- 95: Van Holten’s Pickle-Ice
- 94: Icee Sour Green Apple Watermelon and Banana Berry Punch
- 72: Huhtamaki impresso insulated hot cup line
- 55: f’real Cotton Candy milkshake
- 40: Jolly Rancher Dispensed Beverages
- 32: Vivazen Functional Shots
- 18: Jolly Rancher Frozen Beverage lease program
- 11: Drink Happy Brands Jubi shot