Shandy, a low-alcohol blend of lemonade and beer, just might edge out Arnold Palmers as the refreshing swill of choice during the dog days. At least companies such as MolsonCoors (ticker: TAP), which produces Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy and Rickard’s Shandy, and Anheuser-Busch (BUD), which mixes up Shock Top Lemon Shandy, are hoping you’ll drink to that. The privately owned Mike’s Hard Lemonade Company now makes Mike’s Authentic Shandy, its first beer.
“2013 is in the running to be the ‘summer of shandy.’ All of a sudden, alcohol beverage makers from around the world have become obsessed with these beer & lemon or lemonade blends,” Tom Vierhile, innovations insight director at Datamonitor writes for the website just-drinks.
“According to Datamonitor Consumer’s Product Launch Analytics database of new products, the number of new shandy or radler product launches more than tripled between 2008 and 2012. And, through the first four-and-a-half months of 2013, the global new product launch numbers for shandy beverages are already nearly equal to the full-year launch count for 2011.”
The Business Journal in Milwaukee notes that Wisconsin-based Leinenkugel, which launched its summer shandy in 2007, embarked on its first national ad campaign in March, targeting sports programming.
“Summer Shandy enjoyed double-digit growth last year and became the largest seasonal beer in 2012, the company said,” the Journal says.
The German version of the drink, radler, dates its history to the 1920s, but some liquor lore laureates suggest the British were stirring it up earlier.
“With governments reducing allowable blood alcohol contents for driving under the influence, lower alcohol drinks seem destined to receive more attention. Generally lower in alcohol than beer, shandy and radler also provide a bridge to younger consumers reared on sweet tasting soft drinks, but seeking alcohol beverage alternatives that lack the bitter bite of beer – especially craft beer,” Vierhile notes.
We’re holding out for pink shandy. In an iced glass. With a sprig of fresh mint.
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