Arnold Palmer expands two new flavors into more markets

Coming off a year in which the brand shot up 38.3% and posted sales velocity higher than key competitors, Arnold Palmer Spiked Half & Half aims to continue momentum in 2020. 

Because the hard half iced tea-half lemonade named after the legendary golfer over-indexes with 21- to 24-year-old drinkers and sources drinkers from wine and spirits, it sits squarely within Molson Coors’ goals of corralling more 20-something legal-age drinkers into the beer category and increasing its share in the above-premium space.

“This brand is on fire,” says Matt Escalante, senior director of North American above-premium flavor brands at Molson Coors. “But there is significant opportunity to increase drinkers’ awareness of the brand, and most importantly, encourage trial.”

Arnold Palmer Spiked also is expanding its two newest flavors. After a successful debut in test markets last year, Arnie’s Spiked Iced Tea and Arnie’s Spiked Lemonade will launch in more than a dozen new markets this month.

The two flavors will hit retail in 24-ounce single cans in states that have had the most success with the flagship, which are mostly in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions. Arnie’s Spiked Lemonade also will launch shortly thereafter in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans.

“Given the strength of the Arnie’s Spiked performance in our test cities, we are more than tripling the number of markets in 2020, allowing us to build upon that strength with these new offerings,” says Amber Smith, marketing manager for the brand. “We believe there is a ton of potential with the Arnold Palmer Spiked family of brands, and we feel really great about where we’re standing.”

Arnie’s Spiked essentially decouples the original Arnold Palmer Spiked into two stand-alone flavors.

The drinks launched in May in Albany, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh and Las Vegas, and met key performance metrics such as sales volume and rate-of-sale figures. Its success came as the flagship Arnold Palmer Spiked booked another strong year, with sales volume up 38.3% and sales dollars up 40%, according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data.

The brand’s performance in the Northeast has been “nothing short of fantastic,” says Kristin O’Hara, regional vice president of sales for Molson Coors. “It’s been far exceeding our and our distributors’ expectations, and even better, velocity has not slowed down from a seasonality standpoint compared to other (flavored malt beverages).”

On top of that, she says, Arnold Palmer Spiked and Arnie’s Spiked each have proven incremental to the category. “We feel like we can’t move fast enough right now with this brand for expansion,” O’Hara says.

Made in partnership with Hornell Brewing, a unit of iced-tea maker AriZona Beverages, the Arnie’s extensions aim to bring incremental drinkers to both the hard tea and hard lemonade spaces and afford the brand additional opportunities for greater in-store presence and promotional support at retail.

Like the original flavor, the extensions check in at 5% alcohol by volume.

The offshoot came as part of a “test-and-learn” strategy Molson Coors has adopted in the U.S. in order to move faster on trends and invest more heavily in above-premium brands.

For Arnie’s, the regional expansion “is all about optimizing markets where we are seeing success,” Smith says. “We feel this brand has a unique proposition in the marketplace, and we know when people try it, they become instant fans.”