Arnold Palmer Spiked makes splash in Arizona debut

Held each year in the dead of winter, the Waste Management Phoenix Open has a reputation of offering a fun respite for golf fans from more-frigid climes. Which made it the perfect venue for MillerCoors to debut its new Arnold Palmer Spiked Half & Half, a refreshing combination of half iced tea and half lemonade with 5 percent alcohol by volume.

Made in partnership with Hornell Brewing, a unit of iced tea-maker AriZona Beverages, the drink is a spiked version of the staple named after its creator, the late professional golfer Arnold Palmer. It is made with real juice and select teas.

The drink arrived at the TPC Scottsdale this week, making a splash among golf enthusiasts and earning several mentions in the media. Both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest wrote about the launch, and sports media personality Darren Rovell posted a video on Twitter of his Arnold Palmer Spiked taste test, which he said he enjoyed. "I think it's pretty good. I think this is a good drink. I think this will do really well."

Writing for Golf Digest, Alex Myers said he “can confirm it’s pretty darn tasty.”

The drink will begin hitting the market this month in 24-ounce cans. Six-packs of 12-ounce slim cans will follow in March.

Arnold Palmer Spiked comes to market amid a hard-tea boom in the flavored malt beverage space; the non-carbonated drinks were among the most-prevalent new products on display at the National Beer Wholesalers Association convention in Las Vegas last fall.

Among the earliest entrants was Boston Beer Co.’s Twisted Tea, which launched in 2000 as BoDeans Twisted Tea. The brand has since dropped the “BoDeans” part of its name and continues to roll out new flavors and packaging. It has since been joined by competitors big and small, ranging from Mike’s Hard and MillerCoors to upstarts like the Canadian brand Hey Y’all Southern Tea and Ocean City, Maryland’s Hoop Tea.

Four Loko-owner Phusion Projects over the summer launched its own hard-tea line called John Daly’s Grip It & Sip It. And Anheuser-Busch appears to be adding two new hard teas to its Best Damn lineup.

Despite the fragmented market, MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley says “we think there is more upside. There’s a lot of opportunity here.” Arnold Palmer Spiked, he says, is a key part of the company’s blueprint to return to growth and enables MillerCoors to “participate in a fast-growth segment where we didn’t play before.”