From operating lemonade stands in the July heat as children to enjoying a vodka lemonade during a barbeque as adults, summer has always been synonymous with ice cold lemonade. Now, America’s beloved lemonade brand, Simply Lemonade, is bringing new meaning to summertime with Simply Spiked. While Simply has not yet confirmed the release date on their Twitter account, CNN reports that the beverage will hit shelves on June 6.
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Details About Simply Spiked:
Derived from fermented sugar cane, Simply Spiked is the third alcoholic beverage release from Coca-Cola in the last year. The brand is being positioned as a hard lemonade, rather than a hard seltzer. At the end of the day, it’s a fermented malt beverage (FMB). Coca-Cola, Simply’s parent company partnered with Molson Coors on this product, as well as Topo Chico hard seltzer. Fresca Mixed also announced in the last twelve months, is a spirts-based product, which will be produced in collaboration with Constellation. Variety packs of Simply Spiked include the signature lemonade flavor, as well as strawberry, blueberry, and watermelon, each using Simply’s own fresh squeezed juice.
Simply Spiked Lemonade Flavors:
- Signature Lemonade: Bright and refreshing, this flavor brings the classic Simply Lemonade flavor to the alcohol world with a perfect balance of sweet lemonade and fresh lemony tartness.
- Strawberry Lemonade: Ripe, jammy strawberries blend with classic lemonade flavors for a tart finish.
- Blueberry Lemonade: This flavor blends ripe blueberry notes with the lemonade flavor for a unique and light flavor.
- Watermelon Lemonade: Juicy and sweet, this flavor blends watermelon’s classic summer taste with a bright lemon juice balance.
The inspiration behind the product came from the fact that consumers have been using non-alcoholic Simply Lemonade as a mixer with their favorite spirits. Jamie Wideman, vice president of innovation for Molson Coors, explained that “bringing [Simply] into the ready-to-drink space was a no-brainer.”
Generating over $1 billion in revenue, Simply is Coke’s second-largest brand, following only Coca-Cola itself. Molson’s chief marketing officer Michelle St. Jacques called Simply Spiked a “big opportunity” for the juice brand. In Coca-Cola’s press release, she stated “now, we have a huge opportunity to leverage the power of Simply — a brand known for great flavor — to disrupt the full-flavor alcohol segment in a way that’s never been done before.” Coke also stated that Simply had a “solid performance” last year, despite its entire juice, dairy, and plant-based beverages portfolio declining 9 percent in 2021.
While news of the drink was shared for the first time back in January on Molson Coors’ website, it was not announced to the public via social media until last month — and the response was frenzied, to say the least. In fact, the announcement on Twitter from Simply garnered so much attention that the brand’s account was actually temporarily shut down. Joy Ghosh, vice president at Molson Coors stated, “we knew people would be excited once they found out about Simply Spiked Lemonade. We didn’t expect the unprecedented level of consumer hype, which we’ve never seen for a product announcement before. From all the tweets, memes, and off-the-charts social excitement, people are pumped to try this product.”
Ready to drink cocktails have been dominating the alcohol market for the last few years, and coke is not the only soft-drinks producer adding alcoholic beverages to their portfolio. In late 2021, PepsiCo. announced its partnership with Boston Beer Co., to produce Hard MTN Dew. And in January 2022 Monster Energy purchased CANarchy, a craft brewing collective. According to data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of ready to drink cocktails shot up 42.3 percent in 2021, amounting to over $489 billion. Furthermore, the RTD category is expected to grow an additional 29 percent over the next three years.
Simply Spiked Lemonade Nutrition Info:
According to Coca Cola, all of the varieties will contain 170 calories per 12 ounce can, which is considerably more than most popular hard seltzers. In addition, each flavor checks in at 18 grams of sugar as they all contain 5% “real fruit juice.” The Simply Spiked Lemonade will be sold in variety packs of 12 slim cans, as well as 24-ounce single-flavor standalone cans. Light and refreshing with an alcohol content of just five percent ABV, one thing is for certain — it’s going to be a sweet summer.
Simply Spiked Lemonade Flavors Reviewed:
Signature Lemonade: The aroma is complex and captures all aspects of real lemon, from juice to citrus oil and pith. At first taste, there’s a strong presence of stevia, but that’s soon followed by a burst of bright citrus, which lingers on the finish. Vibrant carbonation keeps it lively.
Watermelon Lemonade: While this smells like a typical sugary watermelon beverage (think: Jolly Rancher), the stevia is surprisingly more incorporated than the original lemonade flavor. This flavor is juicy and acidic on the finish, with just the right balance of natural sweetness.
Strawberry Lemonade: Our pick of the bunch, this expression serves an enjoyable strawberry profile that smells more like preserves than fresh-picked berries. Much like its aromas, the palate is subtle, light, and refreshing.
Blueberry Lemonade: This expresses blueberry in its most authentic form, with bright, juicy aromas. It lands on the sweeter side, but that’s not a bad tradeoff for the intense flavor and aroma of perfectly ripe blueberries.
Our take, overall: The stevia used to sweeten this product is apparent in each expression, but doesn’t dominate the flavor profile like it often does in other fermented malt beverages. The fruit flavors are more true-to-life than many others in this category, and make you think you’re drinking a more sophisticated, zesty RTD.