No bubbles, no problem. In fact, for a growing number of consumers, that’s the point. And fruity, flavorful refreshers are driving growth for some of the largest beverage retailers in the U.S.
Now Molson Coors Beverage Company is set to jump on the trend, introducing a spiked refresher, Happy Thursday, expected to launch nationally in March 2024.
“We believe Happy Thursday is everything these consumers are looking for in a spiked refresher: they’re smooth, bubble-free, flavorful and, of course, refreshing,” says Amanda Devore, senior director for marketing innovation at Molson Coors. “The bold and vibrant packaging is perfect for sharing on social media, and we can’t wait for Happy Thursday to hit shelves.”
At 4.4% alcohol by volume, Happy Thursday will come in four flavors – strawberry, black cherry, pineapple starfruit and mango passionfruit – that the beverage maker believes will attract younger legal-age drinkers that are more likely to buy flavored alcohol beverages. It will be sold in 12-pack variety packs, as well as 16-ounce strawberry and 24-ounce strawberry and pineapple starfruit singles
“Happy Thursday has a mix of familiar flavors that people know and love, but also some that are unique,” says Devore. “It’s a trend straight from social media that we’ve been able to translate to the beyond beer aisle.”
Indeed, refreshers are trending on social media platforms, where people are going so far as to whisk away carbonation in their drinks with milk frothers to make the perfect bubble-free beverage. Devore says Happy Thursday is a first-of-its-kind alcohol refresher to hit the market at scale.
“We are jumping in at the right time – not too early and not too late. We have an opportunity to be a leader with Happy Thursday and its line of spiked refreshers,” she says. “This is an innovation priority for Molson Coors. We’re planning to back this brand with significant investment.”
Happy Thursday, named in honor of the unofficial start of the weekend, delivers on things younger legal-age drinkers are looking for, Devore says, including flavorand brand authenticity.
To do that, Molson Coors worked closely with a group of younger legal drinking-age consumers throughout the product’s development process, helping shape its look, taste and persona.
“Happy Thursday is really a product inspired by its target audience,” Devore says. “We were able to go really deep with them, giving them something they’re really excited about.”
Not only that, but the brand’s target audience is increasingly finding its way to the alcohol aisle through flavored alcohol beverages, according to Circana data.
“These drinkers are entering the category through flavored alcohol beverages. We know they love refreshers, and we think we have a winner with Happy Thursday that’s going to drive incremental value while delivering what these consumers are asking for.”
And while refreshers are relatively new to the alcohol aisle, Devore says there’s a lesson to be taken from the huge splash hard seltzers made a few years ago.
“I think there are similarities with the way hard seltzers capitalized on a trend outside of alcohol. They really took off because consumers were drinking more flavored seltzer water. I think we have the same opportunity here,” she says.