Leinenkugel’s hopes to continue momentum with Pomegranate Shandy

Leinenkugel’s this fall is introducing a new variant of its fast-growing Shandy franchise, aiming to maintain momentum through the winter and into spring.

Pomegrante Shandy is slated to hit shelves this week, replacing the fall seasonal, Harvest Patch Shandy. Juicy and fruit-flavored with a hint of slight citrus typical of ripe pomegranate, the beer is balanced with cracker-like malt character from Leinie’s traditional Weiss beer and finishes dry. It was brewed to be a crisp, approachable beer that serves as an invitation into craft for 21- to 34-year-old drinkers.

The new flavor is being introduced as Leinenkugel’s Shandy franchise continues to accelerate. Case volume of the Shandy franchise is up 10.4 percent year-to-date and 11.8 percent in the four weeks ended Oct. 21, according to Nielsen all-outlet data. Sales dollars are up 13 percent for the year, making it one of the strongest performers in the overall craft segment.

The beer hits while pomegranates are in season in the U.S. and when interest in the fruit is at its highest.

"We're excited to tap into the seasonality and broad appeal of this intriguing fruit," says Cara Lauritzen, who works on the Leinenkugel's brand team. "Pomegranate Shandy is the perfect way for Leinenkugel's to welcome the fall and winter months."

Pomegranates nudged into the mainstream in the early 2000s upon the U.S. launch of the pomegranate juice brand, POM. The fruit continues to grow as a flavor. Items with pomegranate on the label were up 4 percent over the past year in the grocery space, and pomegranate as a flavor in beer was up 124 percent in 2016, according to Nielsen data.

The fruit, prized for its seeds, has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. It was, along with dates, among the first flavorings the ancient Egyptians used in beer as early as 3,100 BCE, according to the Jeff Alworth book, "The Beer Bible."

Leinenkugel’s Pomegranate Shandy is expected to be available through the end of February 2018. It will be available in six-packs and 12-packs of bottles, 12-packs of 12-oz. cans, four-packs of 16-oz. cans and on draft.