Happy Thursday sampling its way to success

✓ Happy Thursday is a top-10 new brand of the year so far
✓ Sampling events all over the country have been extremely positive
✓ Distribution is steadily increasing 

When Molson Coors launched Happy Thursday earlier this year, it didn’t just introduce a new brand, it also pioneered a new flavor category with the bubble-free, spiked refresher.  

Developed with insights from legal drinking-age Gen Z consumers, the fruit-flavor forward and non-carbonated beverage is 4.4% alcohol by volume and sports bright, monochromatic packaging to pop on social media.  

Launched in April, Happy Thursday is already a top-10 new brand of the year so far, per Circana.  

“We're starting to see a lot of green shoots, especially for such a new brand,” says Zach Paciorek, senior marketing manager for Happy Thursday. “There’s a real sense of excitement.” 

Sales are continuing to grow week over week and distribution is growing, too, in both key national chains and independent stores. 

Happy Thursday’s variety pack is the top new item in the last four weeks at a top-five grocery chain, where it’s moving 2.5 times faster than the No. 2 new brand, per Circana for the four weeks ending May 12. Other recent wins for the brand include being the top new item in Wisconsin and Indiana grocery stores and the No. 3 new item in Illinois grocery stores. 

Getting cans to hands 

According to Paciorek, Happy Thursday is leaning into the spaces where its target demographic spends time, both in-person and online, to establish and maintain that momentum.  

“We’re driving awareness through a strong digital media strategy and a lot of sampling events around getting Happy Thursday cans in hands,” he says.  

The brand has already held tasting events for 21+ consumers at popular festivals all over the country, including at Miami Music Week, Chicago’s Do Division Fest, the Indy 500 and Jazz Fest in New Orleans, in some cases depleting its entire stock. 

“Every time we think we have enough product for these large festivals, consumers have proven us wrong,” says Paciorek. 

Feedback from live sporting events, concerts, festivals and venues, where the brand has been able to introduce itself and educate consumers about its unique attributes, has been extremely positive.  

“The education for this product is critical to ensure the first sip isn’t misconstrued as being flat,” says Jessica Owens, director of field marketing for the Pacific region. “When they learn it’s non-carbonated on purpose, it makes a huge difference. We have so many great stories from the samplings.” 

Many younger legal drinking-age consumers have reported that they were glad to find more bubble-free drinks, according to testimonials collected at sampling events. “Carbonated drinks usually hurt my stomach so it’s really nice to have options,” said one taster in California. That was echoed by a taster in Illinois, who said, “No carbonation so this is a game changer.” 

Paciorek adds that where distributors have gotten Happy Thursday into on-premise accounts, the results speak for themselves.  

“In northern Wisconsin, a distributor has the brand in over 200 on-premise accounts and that’s turning into huge wins in the off-premise,” he says. “We are even seeing an emerging trend, where all four flavors of Happy Thursday are mixed together and served in a pitcher for a 'Happy Punch.'” 

Paciorek says that with strong distribution, large-scale sampling and more opportunities to introduce consumers to the brand via the on-premise and digital media, the brand is prepared for a strong summer.  

“There is some great momentum here,” he says. “We're playing in a new segment, so we’re being smart. The initial data is very promising.”