With consumer preferences evolving, two major players in the drinks business are coming together to satisfy demands with innovative collaborations.
Beam Suntory, known for its wide range of spirits, including iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons in addition to a host of Japanese, Scotch, and Canadian whisky labels, is entering into a long-term strategic partnership with the Boston Beer Company, a firm with a diverse portfolio of brands, including Truly and Twisted Tea, that began with its Samuel Adams beer.
The agreement will combine the efforts of a premium spirits leader and a brewing pioneer to launch products that bring Suntory’s Sauza tequila brand into the ready-to-drink (RTD) market and bridge Truly Hard Seltzer into the bottled spirits world, according to a Thursday press release.
“We are each tapping opportunities in adjacent categories by unleashing our shared creativity and respective distribution strengths in spaces that resonate with consumers,” remarked Albert Baladi, Beam Suntory president & CEO in the announcement.
Recent trends indicate that RTDs are increasing in popularity, and Beam Suntory has a proven track record in Japan, Australia, and Germany as an industry leader. The new move looks to capitalize on these opportunities by expanding offerings and taking advantage of solid demand for hard seltzer and canned cocktails.
As America’s second-best-selling hard seltzer, Truly will benefit from Beam Suntory’s expansive distribution network and advanced distillation capabilities. Suntory will, in turn, have access to Boston Beer’s expertise in the production and distribution of brewed beverages. (Though Sauza is a tequila brand, the new RTD line will most likely not be spirits-based, according to multiple outlets, including Beer Business Daily.)
The conglomerates are not entirely new to the crossover market, as Beam Suntory entered the bottled cocktail industry with its acquisition of On The Rocks in 2020. Boston Beer has flirted with the spirits category since purchasing Dogfish Head in 2019, via which it recently launched a liquor-based canned cocktail line.
While the partnership will surely draw attention from across the globe, it will be months before any products hit shelves, with an expected U.S. launch date scheduled for mid-2022.