- Boston Beer’s Twisted Tea is entering the whiskey space with the introduction of Twisted Tea Sweet Tea Whiskey through its partnership with Beam Suntory.
- The beverage will launch in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Ohio, Missouri and Texas, along with military outlets. It can be consumed on its own or added to a cocktail.
- Last summer, Beam Suntory and Boston Beer formed a partnership to bring several of their iconic brands into some of the fastest-growing beverage alcohol segments. This is the third launch between the two partners after Sauza Agave Cocktails and Truly Flavored Vodka.
Just a year after entering their partnership, Boston Beer and Bean Suntory are moving quickly to take full advantage of it.
Boston Beer — which will handle national marketing and advertising, public relations and social media promotion for Twisted Tea Whiskey — is leveraging Beam Suntory's expertise in distillation, distribution, sales, and trade and local marketing.
Similar to other recent RTD launches, the companies are starting out small with their distribution. This would give them an opportunity to gauge consumer feedback as they navigate some of the inevitable challenges that come with rolling out a product in the alcohol space, while sharing responsibilities.
Boston Beer has struggled during the past year with slumping sales in its once-thriving Truly brand. In an effort to rejuvenate sales, it has partnered with Beam Suntory as well as PepsiCo on Hard Mtn Dew, and rolled out new innovations like Bevy, a beverage inspired by Finland’s long drink, and cannabis-infused iced teas in Canada.
For Boston Beer, the launch allows the Sam Adams and Truly hard seltzer maker to tap into one of its most valuable and fastest-growing assets. During its earnings call last month, CEO Dave Burwick said Boston Beer will focus its efforts during the second half of the year on Twisted Tea, Truly and Hard Mtn Dew — assets it believes “have the most potential to positively impact our business.”
Twisted Tea has been the fastest-growing brand among the top 20 in the overall beer category for the past 10 months, Burwick said in July. Twisted Tea expanded its position as the No. 1 flavored malt beverage in the second quarter by 5 share points and grew double-digits, largely the result of the improved distribution of 12-packs and a brand it said is connecting with more consumers.
As beverage companies aim to satisfy the growing appetite for the convenience of prepared alcoholic drinks, a logical and increasingly popular route is going with what works.
Brown-Forman and Coca‑Cola, for example, plan to introduce a ready-to-drink cocktail combining an already well-known pairing: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and the iconic soda brand. In the case of Sweet Tea Whiskey, Twisted Tea Brand Director Erica Taylor said shoppers “are already shopping for flavored whiskey, so this is our way of giving them something they can call their own.”