On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” hosts Joanna Sciarrino and Zach Geballe discuss the big soda companies breaking into the beverage alcohol market. In Adam’s absence, the two are joined by VinePair writer-at-large Dave Infante to examine this rising trend.

What does the new release of Mountain Dew Hard Seltzer mean for other big names in soda? Are these consumer packaged goods (CPG) conglomerates ready to align themselves with hard seltzer and hard soda? And what can be learned from the success — and failures — of past business models?

Tune in to learn more.

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Joanna Sciarrino: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Joanna Sciarrino.

Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.

J: And this is the “VinePair Podcast.” Before we get into our first segment, I want to introduce our guest for today, VinePair writer-at-large Dave Infante. Dave, welcome back to the show.

Dave Infante: I’m glad to be here, Joanna.

J: We thought we’d intro you now so we could all talk about what we’ve been drinking lately, because we missed that for you last time. So Dave, why don’t you kick it off? What have you been drinking?

D: I felt left out, but thank you for bringing me into the fold. I have a bottle of Scarpa Vermouth di Torino Bianco, so just some vermouth from Torino. I’ve been drinking a lot of that over ice with a little orange twist. I know that’s way out of season and more of a summer drink, but I’ve really been enjoying it lately. I guess listeners don’t know, but I’m moving soon. So I’m trying to clear out my fridge right now. Whether I want to be drinking the vermouth or not, that’s what I’m drinking right now.

Z: You definitely don’t want to be packing it up and putting it in the U-Haul.

D: No, that’s right. So that’s my mission, and I choose to accept it.

Z: We appreciate your service, Dave.

J: What about you, Zach?

Z: As this is going live, we’re entering the very final moments of Dry January for me. So, one last non-alcoholic shout-out. And I actually shouted out this brand before Dry January even started, I think. But I’m mildly obsessed with this brand of seltzers called Nixie. The one that I’ve been into lately is the grapefruit. And I swear, I have never experienced this with a canned product before. The smell, when you open a can of it, is absolutely 100 percent the smell of peeling a grapefruit. You just get the volatilities, the oils, and the pith. I don’t know how they do it. I assume some kind of black magic, I probably don’t really want to know. You can get a Spindrift for a seltzer with fruit juice added, where you get that real grapefruit flavor. But this has no fruit juice in it. It’s either remarkable or terrifying, I’m not sure, but I really enjoy them. The recycling bin was very full this week, not with wine bottles like it usually is, but with empty seltzer cans. How about you, Joanna?

J: Before I mention what I drank, I wonder if they have canned cocktails in their future. I feel like citrus is really hard to nail.

Z: Maybe, we’ll have to keep an eye out.

J: And interview them. I recently went to a restaurant in the West Village called Semma. I had a cocktail there; it was their take on an Old Fashioned with bourbon and spiced jaggery syrup — which is really delicious — and a coconut water ice cube. It had a little bit of a toasted coconut on the rim, and that was really, really good. Definitely one of the more outstanding drinks I’ve had this year, so far. So yeah, that’s pretty much the extent of the drinking I’ve been doing these days.

Z: That’s interesting. I hadn’t really thought about how coconut would be an interesting flavor with bourbon. I can’t think of a lot of cocktails that call for those two ingredients.

J: It’s interesting, because it’s not so coconut forward. The coconut water ice cube lends a little bit of that savoriness that you get from coconut water. And then the toasted coconut was not too overpowering at all. But I think, maybe with the spiced syrup, it came together really nicely.

Z: Sounds tasty, for sure. Now that we’ve covered the things we were drinking, I think we should talk about things we could be drinking in the near future. And that’s why we wanted to have you on, Dave. You’ve written about this a lot, including at your really excellent Substack, Fingers, which I am a subscriber to. That’s something you listeners should check out as well. You’ve written a lot about soda or energy drink companies entering the beverage alcohol space. The most prominent of those was Monster’s acquisition of CANarchy earlier in January. Dave, can you lay out for us what we have seen so far in some of these acquisitions or product announcements that these hybridization of existing non-alc brands with a boozy take?

D: The underlying landscape here on which some of these moves are happening is that beer share in the United States has been declining steadily for years. Spirits are on the rise. Wine is kind of off in the hinterlands doing its own thing.

Z: That’s a podcast topic to come, don’t worry.

D: If you look at the graph of wine, the line is just like off on its own on the x and y axis in a totally different place than spirits and beer. But spirits and beer are kind of headed towards each other. Beer is declining and spirits is rising. That macro trend is coinciding with a couple others in the broader beverage ecosystem. One of the big ones is that, the big soft drink companies that have traditionally specialized in non-alcoholic beverages, they’ve gotten really good at the distribution and merchandising of the sodas, teas, and juices. They are increasingly looking for growth opportunities in the alcohol category. This is a door that has been open for a while, but really only a few brands have ever tried to walk through it. Prior to 2020 or so is when we kind of started seeing real interest there. There were always juice crossovers and some tea that was being developed, but it was usually hard tea products that were developed by outfits that were marketing it as alcohol, rather than brands that had strong tea brands in the non-alc space and then they were adding alcohol to it.

Z: So Twisted Tea as opposed to Snapple with booze.

D: Exactly, that’s a great example. That’s exactly how to think about it. Recently, this is spurred on by consolidation in the beverage industry, both non-alcoholic and alc, that demonstrated consumer preference for products that offer conventional flavor. Really approachable packaging and marketing that looks a lot more like sodas than it does like beers. You start to see soft beverage companies take a look at that and be like, “Well, wait a second, we do a lot of the things that are making White Claw and Truly and some of the other hard seltzers successful in the marketplace. What’s so different about what we’re producing, except for the fact that it doesn’t have fermented cane sugar in it?” So the blurring lines is a big motif that you hear among beverage industry types. These blurring lines have really, I think, encouraged more players from outside of the beer space to start looking at what that beyond-beer alcoholic beverage space might look like with them in it. So that’s the backdrop that we’re working with here.

J: I actually have a question based on what you just said. You mentioned that the door had been open for a while. Why do you think it’s taken this long?

D: I think there’s a few reasons. One, this has been tried before, right? So if we’re talking about soda, we saw hard soda in the middle of the craft boom of the last decade. We saw that come hard and flop really hard. It was not a successful category launch. It had no escape velocity. Products like Not Your Father’s Root Beer and Blitz Weinhard introduced their own hard sodas. They failed to catch on with the leading edge of the alcoholic beverage industry at the time. Craft beer drinkers mostly rejected these products, so that obviously is going to make everyone a little gun shy, right? Everyone’s paying attention to what’s happening. You see that stuff go out and fail to gain traction, and that’s going to make people rethink their innovation pipeline a little bit. Another reason is that the non-alcoholic beverage conglomerates like Monster and Coca-Cola, which owns 17 or 18 percent of Monster, or PepsiCo has a big beverage portfolios. Those brands are really powerful and really attractive. So there’s a lot of equity there. But in the past, they’ve been more conservative about leveraging those brands in the alcohol space. Alcohol comes with its own considerations around decency and moderation. A lot of those products are family-oriented products, right? You want to be able to get the mom with the $200 grocery cart to feel comfortable putting your Minute Maid lemonade or whatever in their cart without making her feel like, “Oh, this is a gateway to an alcoholic product.” So there’s sensitivity around that. Time and time again, sources just emphasized to me that these big CPG companies are not in the business of taking unnecessary risks. They’re managing massive portfolios that are growing very methodically and deliberately, and they just want to be tweaking their approach a little bit. Because of the scale that they’re at, one good tweak can generate double-digit percentage points of growth. But one bad tweak or too risky of a move, such as introducing alcohol, can have negative effects. So we’re being cautious and waiting to see how the category develops. Again, it’s like hard seltzer.

J: Which paved the way for a lot of that.

D: Even going a little bit further back, I wrote that story about Tequiza a while ago. With Tequiza, you can kind of see with the benefit of hindsight that Tequiza and then the Lime-A-Rita product that Bud Light introduced afterwards, which then became the Rita’s family of beverages; very fruit forward, very sweet. It’s not really a prestige product by any means, but one that performed very successfully for its time. So there are these data points where you’re seeing innovation on the alcohol side of the equation towards things that look more like soft beverages. I’m not sure that it was ever this explicit, but you could kind of map onto that a narrative of the CPG conglomerates that had non-alc portfolios like, “Well, wait a second, they’re doing this coming towards us. Why don’t we do it going towards them?”

Z: This is a really fascinating point because — to pick up on a couple of things that you said earlier, Dave — a big difference from what we saw with those hard sodas, which were largely created brands attempting to build a market for this category, PepsiCo is about to launch a Mountain Dew-branded hard seltzer. By the time some of you were listening to this, it might be in stores. The potential is there for Pepsi or Coke. Whether it’s a whiskey and Coke or rum and Coke, that’s one of the biggest call drinks in any bar anywhere. For a long time, as you said, Coca-Cola defined itself as a brand in opposition to alcohol. In opposition to Pepsi, but part of its selling point to adults was, “We’re not alcoholic.” Especially in this country, but in lots of parts of the world where lots of people don’t drink or don’t want to drink often or it’s unacceptable to drink at certain times a day or certain days of the week, that whole thing is very powerful. And I can understand them not wanting to dilute that very, very powerful branding. On the other hand, as you said, there is an element where like, “We’re watching sales that could be ours.” You would think that a Coca-Cola branded Coke and rum product would probably sell really, really well. Because for a lot of people, the thing that’s important in there is the Coca-Cola, it’s not so much the rum. They’re going with whatever well rum the dive bar has.

D: Give me the worst rum you have.

Z: And I’m relying on the Coke to carry it. We are in this weird space where, I don’t know if it’s just in the United States in particular, drinking has become more accepted broadly. Or if it’s just the dollar figures or the money at stake here is maybe too big even for these conservative behemoths to ignore. At some point they are being too conservative and not pursuing some of that market share. Does that ring true?

D: That’s certainly a big piece of the puzzle, right? These companies are looking for growth. We saw it in the last decade. When macro brewers’ core categories and their light adjunct lagers, those flagship beers started to flag — no pun intended — they started turning to the hot growth area which, at the time, was the craft beer industry. That’s why you see acquisitions. Anheuser-Busch led the way with 11 over the course of nine years, starting with Goose Island. Molson Coors picked up five or six in the same amount of time. Constellation tried to make a move and wound up overpaying for Ballast Point and wound up selling that for a nickel on the dollar in 2019. But the point is, they were making moves, and they’re buying growth. Craft beer has now leveled off, certainly in this country, and that doesn’t mean these publicly traded companies’ appetite for growth has leveled off. You can think of them like great white sharks or even bigger and bulkier predators than that. They’re always looking around to see what the next big thing is, because they have to deliver shareholder return. And they have to constantly have things in the pipeline that they think are going to deliver that growth. Whether or not there was internal resistance to it, at some point, if the growth is not available in the categories that you’re currently playing in, you really only have one choice. And that’s to go play in the categories that you know the growth is there. What I think is interesting, Zach, is the different examples you mentioned. There’s a few going on, right? In the biggest acquisition in January, Monster Energy acquired CANarchy, which was a private equity roll-up of craft brewing companies led by Oskar Blues and Cigar City and a couple others. They acquired CANarchy for $330 million. Also this past month, Coca-Cola announced that it would start making Fresca Mix, which is going to be a Fresca alcoholic product that they’re going to put into the pipeline with Constellation. So Coca-Cola is doing the Fresca mix with Constellation. They also have the joint venture with Topo Chico Hard Seltzer with Molson Coors, which is performing very well for them. So Coca-Cola is moving deliberately, right? They’re establishing joint ventures, they’re finding strategic partners who they think match up well with the brands that they want to leverage. And then most recently, just this past week, Coca-Cola is going to deploy their Simply Lemonade as a spiked lemonade product with Molson Coors. They’re moving very deliberately. They’re not trying to build brands on their own necessarily. Obviously, the expertise that they bring is certainly logistics. But the alcohol logistics in this country, as you guys know, are much more complex than non-alcoholic. You have to have expertise, you have to have the distribution networks. Depending on the state, they have to stock different stores or different parts of the stores. So they want strategic partners who they can rely on to get these brands to market in a way that is going to give them the best chance for success. That game is no different, whether it’s a small craft player or Coca-Cola. The only difference is that Coca-Cola has a lot more leverage to sign big deals with the largest macro brewers to achieve that scale very quickly.

Z: I have a couple of questions for you, Dave, that revolve around some of those acquisitions and/or product announcements that you described. A thing that has been a little hard to puzzle out is, what is Monster’s play here? What is the reason they made this purchase? My sense is that CANarchy wasn’t exactly killing it in the beer game. What is the point here?

D: Our colleagues, Justin Kendall and Jess Infante over at Brewbound, were all over this deal and did a series of really well-reported stories. And I based a lot of my analysis off that, so shout-out to their great work on that front. The executives at Monster have been pretty clear that the opportunity with CANarchy is not so much around the beer brands that they’re buying — Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Wasatch, and other breweries that are in the CANarchy portfolio — I don’t think that they are going to just throw those in the dustbin. What they are most excited about is the logistics network and the distribution network to immediately unlock what they referred to as a “platform” to launch a series of flavored malt beverage-style products. They’re going to introduce a hard seltzer. They’ve already been very clear about that. They’re not going to be introducing it under the Monster name. That’s an instance where Monster is just such a strong brand, but it has youth built into it. It has the gamer culture built into it. There’s some guardrails there that, I guess, they feel it’s not worth trying to introduce under that brand name and potentially risking the equity there. But the point is, they have an innovation pipeline. They’re very good at packaging, they’re very good at branding. They know how to do flavors and market products fit for these types of beverages. I was just talking to a source of mine who works at Cowen, a big private equity firm that does a lot of mergers and acquisitions, and he’s been specializing in the beverage industry for the past three decades. His point was, the acquisitions of the last decade where you saw macro breweries buying craft breweries, a lot of what they were buying certainly was the growth that they had the potential for. And also the innovation. Those were, effectively, the innovation pipeline for Anheuser-Busch. A big part of their innovation strategy was just like, “I don’t know, people seem to like Devil’s Backbone, whatever they’re putting out. Instead of trying to figure out how they make those beers, why don’t we just buy Devil’s Backbone?” In the ‘90s, ABI tried and failed to clone craft beer, so they knew they couldn’t do it. And they were just like, “F*ck it, let’s just do it.” And they bought them. What we’re seeing now, with the Monster deal specifically, is Monster doesn’t need that innovation. I’m sure they’re happy about it. Like I said, I don’t think they’re going to get rid of the brands or anything, but that’s not what they’re buying. What they’re buying is a platform.

J: They’re buying access, right?

D: Access. It’s relatively turnkey. They can get to market very quickly with an existing sales force and with an existing alcohol distribution network. That’s the key value proposition for them, at least in the short term, is to have that access and that platform

J: It’s so much faster than starting from scratch for them.

D: You almost can’t start from scratch. The size of the portfolio of the big players in each market is such that you need the relationships to be able to move into their portfolio in a big way, and to get the mindshare you need to carve onto the shelves with new products. You’re just fighting too many uphill battles there. It would just be exceptionally hard to do. For Monster, I think to its credit, talks had swirled for a long time. Everyone knew Monster wanted to make a move into alcohol. They’ve been very deliberate and purposeful, and frankly, were kind of dragging their feet to make sure that they understood exactly what they were getting. Zach, to your earlier point, CANarchy wasn’t failing. But I don’t think anyone, any honest dealer, would say that they were a runaway success as a roll-up. I’m sure that Fireman Capital got out with their money. I would be surprised if they took heavy losses on it. But this was also not a runaway success. The story there is, Oskar Blues and Cigar City are strong brands within the craft space. But they’re legacy brands within the craft space, and the craft space is itself a legacy. It’s becoming a legacy space within beverage, so you’re seeing maturing and growth. The trend lines with Oskar Blues, specifically, is actually trending down a little bit in sales. Monster’s executives have been pretty clear about their excitement around the access in the platform that they’re buying.

Z: I have one last question on this topic, Dave, that is maybe the hardest one to answer, but I would love if you have a guess or a prediction. It does feel like we’re kind of waiting for one of these big companies, whether it’s Coke, Pepsi, Monster, etc., to push all their chips in on the table and say, “F*uck it, we’re going to make an alcoholic brand branded with our most successful, most iconic brands.” Do you think we’re close to that? Fresca? Fine. Mountain Dew is a pretty big brand. But we’re not talking Coke or Pepsi as main products. Do you think that’s coming?

D: With the caveat that no one knows what they’re talking about in this space, certainly not me, it’s hard for me to imagine Coca-Cola to get behind, theoretically, a Coke hard seltzer. That’s very difficult for me to imagine. Stranger things have happened, certainly. But I think the risks are just too high. We’ll know a lot more based on how well Simply and Fresca do. I have no special insight into their innovation strategy. But if you envision their innovation strategy as an aggressive one, just hypothetically speaking, you could view those as trial balloons. OK, we’re taking our flagship brands in specific categories, and we’re going to see what happens if we inject a bunch of fermented cane sugar or fermented malt into it and put it out there. If Simply Spiked Lemonade falls flat and flops in nine months and gets the Cacti treatment and just gets taken out back and shot, you can be very certain that you’ll never see a Coke hard seltzer, ever. If it doesn’t, and if Simply Spiked Lemonade goes gangbusters and they can’t keep it on the shelves because it’s selling so well, maybe that doomsday clock moves a little bit closer to midnight over at the Coca-Cola innovation war room. Maybe that gets a little bit more feasible. For any of these big companies and flagships, there’s so much culture tied up in preserving those brands and elevating those brands, it’s very hard for me to imagine. To use a beer industry example, I was speaking to Maureen Ogle, a beer historian who wrote “Ambitious Brew.” She has a great long-term perspective on the beer industry. She’s emphatic that beer must be considered in the broader context of the beverage industry. For a long time, the silos that existed kept beer from acknowledging that it was just another beverage. And certainly, the regulatory structure reinforces that. But her point is that, what you’re seeing now is what always should have been happening, which is that beer is being co-opted and absorbed by the broader beverage category. Whenever Anheuser-Busch introduced Bud Light, which was the extension of Budweiser, which was then the flagship, it took them five or 10 years to follow Miller into the light beer category, because they didn’t want to damage the Budweiser brand. Those forces are real, and they’re not just a function of market research. They’re also a function of company culture and ego and pride in the flagship brand that exists. There are Coke executives and Coke people who only work on Coca-Cola; they care very much about that brand. It’s not just a matter of a cold, calculated decision where it’s like, “Well, this makes sense; we’re going to do it,” or, “This doesn’t make sense; we’re not going to do it.” There’s a big shade of gray, and it can be a bit of an emotional decision. That is a factor — I don’t think it’s the deciding factor — but it’s something to consider.

Z: Something we could also learn from that is, I don’t think it took very long for Bud Light to surpass Budweiser in sales. Sometimes that reticence to move into a new category is either unfounded or, in fact, can be actively harmful to a brand.

D: It was damaging, absolutely. Anyone who has covered that period of the beer industry knows that Anheuser-Busch was late. They were late to the light beer business, and it was almost a problem for them. They were able to muscle their way back into the front of that category, but they spent millions and millions of dollars to do it. Whereas if they were a little bit more forward-thinking, they could have nipped Miller in the bud on that — no pun intended. The move from soda companies like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, who are making a bunch of moves right now, it’s exciting. Oh, Bang, we didn’t talk about Bang. Bang Energy were the forerunners on this. They have Mixx; I don’t know how that product is performing. I haven’t heard a word about it, but you can say that Jack Owoc is a visionary, in terms of understanding what people want out of these products. He introduced Bang Mixx hard seltzer at the beginning of 2021. We have these big players moving into the space. They understand branding, they understand distribution, they understand flavor, and it’s exciting for drinkers. Certainly, it’s exciting for people like us who cover the space. I don’t think it’s that exciting for craft brewers and people who are diehard beer people. We’ve talked about this a lot, and I’ve written about this for VinePair before: The energy or the momentum in beverage right now has shifted away from artisanal products, local, and craft. It’s going more towards flavor and color and things that are traditionally better for you, health messaging that plays better in the broader CPG space than it ever has in the craft space. Part of the reason that you’re seeing so much success with fruited and kettle sours is because that’s a good analog. That’s something that’s still very “craft beer,” but the flavor profiles and the occasions, which is how the industry talks about opportunities to sell sh*t, are much more similar than stouts and IPAs. I think that’s why you’re seeing a lot of growth in that category.

J: I don’t think Coke is ever going to go there.

D: Yeah, what do you guys think? You don’t think so, right? It’s hard to imagine.

J: They’re going to protect their prestige brand. They have so many other brands that they can do this with.

Z: I will bet at least a drink, maybe significantly more than that, that within five years, there will be a Coca-Cola branded product on the market that has alcohol in it.

D: I don’t think that’s true. I’ll take the other side of that. I’ll happily take the other side of that. I think you’re very wrong. Write it down. This is being recorded for posterity. In a couple of years from now, I’ll tell you what, if it happens, I’ll buy you a 12-pack of Coca-Cola hard seltzer.

Z: Well, that means I lose either way, Dave.

D: That’s why you shouldn’t gamble, Zach. It’s a wild time in the industry. I joke a lot about how CPG is just converging to the singularity, where the only thing that matters is the brand and the brand is going to encompass everything. That’s probably a little bit of an exaggeration. But what we’re seeing right now is that these companies that manage these brand portfolios are much more interested in figuring out new ways to leverage them and capturing drinker interest across the non-alc spectrum. That means that we’re going to see a lot of great stuff and a lot of terrible stuff.

Z: Can I defend my position here for just one moment before we end things? One of the things that you are seeing with brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc., is you can see them trying to get around a challenge that they face, which is that there is attrition in their consumer base as people move away from soda as their primary beverage as they get older. It doesn’t mean that some people don’t continue to drink soda throughout their entire life. Obviously, so much of the growth in the category has been in the diet or zero or whatever category, because people find ways to fit them into their drinking life even after they’re of age to drink alcohol. If you’re Coca-Cola or you’re PepsiCo and you’re looking at this landscape, you see these carbonated flavored alcoholic beverages. Even if they’re not growing at the crazy percentage rates that they were growing a few years ago — that market has expanded dramatically; it can’t keep growing at that percentage — that and hard alcohol are your two areas of real growth in beverage alcohol right now. If you’re going to dip your toe in, you might as well jump in. To come back to the Budweiser/Anheuser-Busch and Miller comparison, 40 years ago, Anheuser-Busch could be late to the game and still get back in. I’m not as sure that that’s easy to do now. Things just move faster. If you are not on the radar in a category that you could be crushing, I don’t know if that’s a good business move. I get what you’re saying about there being a corporate culture of, “We’re Coca-Cola. We’re not an alcohol brand. We’re a soda brand.” But you know what? The other thing that’s happened in the world of business over the last 30, 40 years is that kind of sentimentality has largely been driven out.

D: Also, those people are going to retire and eventually people that hold those sentiments so dear are going to exit.

Z: And someone’s going to say, “This category is a $10 billion category. We don’t have any have any part of it — what the f*ck are we doing?” The “what-the-f*ck-are-we-doing” argument is a compelling one. That’s my rationale.

D: One additional morsel that I wanted to mention here that may support your argument is that, over the course of the past decade as the macro brewers went through their acquisitions in the craft space, the Department of Justice started taking note of how much consolidation was happening in the beer industry. There were a few shots across the bow for Anheuser-Busch in particular that made them a little bit more reluctant to acquire craft breweries in the future. I think they got their fill, but a couple of my sources have pointed out that they’re also not too keen on making any more moves that might arouse the ire of the DOJ. That’s why we’re seeing companies like Tilray, which is the biggest cannabis firm in the world that just acquired Sweetwater last year, and then Green Flash, Alpine, and Breckenridge Distillery this year. Those buyers from outside of the beer industry who don’t have as much concern around antitrust activity are moving in. Coca-Cola is in a middle ground. Just knowing a little bit about its footprint in the alcohol space, they probably have some room to roam, but they may be worried about that as well. That would be a case for developing extensions of existing brands, rather than acquiring a ton more portfolio brands to move into the alcohol space. Potentially, that’s a vote in the favor of eventually extending Coca-Cola into the alcohol space.

Z: My last question. In 2015 or 2016, would you have believed that a product called Bud Light Seltzer would exist?

D: Bud Light Seltzer hard soda, even. Yeah, no. No, I wouldn’t. You’re absolutely right, man. It’s so hard. Everyone thinks that they’re on firm ground. In 2016, we thought that IPAs were about to be over, that it was a saturation point, and they were going to turn away. It’s laughable now — IPAs remains the strongest product category in the craft beer industry. I never will hold myself out as an oracle of this stuff. I like making predictions, and I’m often wrong. Last year, I thought that Budweiser was never going to do a Super Bowl commercial again. I thought this was Anheuser-Busch InBev’s way of avoiding scrutiny, and they did the coronavirus ad instead. I thought that was going to be it. I thought we were never going to see Budweiser in the Super Bowl again. The press release came out yesterday, and Budweiser is going to have a Super Bowl commercial. So that just shows you I have no idea what the f*ck I’m talking about.

Z: We should probably leave it there.

J: Well, thank you both. And thank you, Dave, for joining us once again. We were so happy to have you, and I’ll talk to you guys next time.

D: Right on.

Z: Sounds great.

Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.

Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all of this possible, and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team, who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.

Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.

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