The No. 1 new craft brand in the Great Lakes? Leinenkugel’s Juicy Peach

Leinenkugel’s has another hit on its hands.

Leinenkugel’s Juicy Peach is the Great Lakes region’s top new craft brand of 2022, and the top new brand in craft beer in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

And, despite being sold only in the Great Lakes region, Juicy Peach ranks as the No. 4 new craft brand in the nation, according to year-to-date IRI multi-outlet and convenience data through July 31.

“Juicy Peach got off to a hot start, and it hasn’t looked back,” says Tony Bugher, who is set to take over as brewery president upon Dick Leinenkugel’s retirement in 2023. “It’s already exceeded its full-year plan and our expectations.”

Since its January release, the brand has quickly become the brewer’s No. 2-seller in the region based on dollar sales, behind only Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, according to IRI data for the 13 weeks that ended June 26.

The beer, which balances a hint of sweetness from natural peach juice with subtle tart notes, ranks among Leinenkugel’s best product launches since Summer Shandy shook up the beer world in 2007, Bugher says.

“We haven’t seen this type of reaction and overall support and momentum behind a new launch in a while,” he says. “It’s definitely one of the strongest launches we’ve seen.”

What’s more, Juicy Peach is lifting the entire Leinenkugel’s portfolio, including Summer Shandy. Dollar sales are up 2.5% in the six weeks that ended July 24, according to IRI multi-outlet and convenience store data, outpacing craft as a whole, which is down 5.1%.

It’s also helped Leinenkugel’s Lodge Pack variety pack to 50% growth year-to-date as compared with the 2021 Brewology Pack, IRI data show.

While sales prove the beer’s popularity, consumers are backing the data up with their own sentiment. Leinenkugel’s dropped consumer surveys into select packs of Juicy Peach, and 92% of respondents said they were very satisfied or satisfied, beating beer benchmarks for such questionnaires, Bugher says.

“It’s a hit with retailers and it’s a hit with drinkers,” he says.

Perhaps even more remarkable is that Juicy Peach has achieved so much with limited marketing support behind it. That’s about to change, Bugher says.

“Juicy Peach is going to get more media support so we can end the year strong and continue the momentum into 2023 with distribution and velocity,” he says. “There’s a lot of energy and a lot more ahead.”