Remember Four Loko? Back in the early ‘10s, they sold more than $150 million dollars worth of highly caffeinated, highly boozy cans, before an epidemic of injuries and blackouts moved the FDA to issue the company a warning letter. Four Loko pivoted, removing the caffeine from their drinks.
Combining caffeine and alcohol has not always been a great idea.
Sure, people drink Red Bull Vodka and Irish coffee. But since Four Loko, there hasn’t been an uber-popular, pre-made caffeine-and-alcohol drink in stores. But that’s about to change. Hard coffee is about to be everywhere, and I’m going to tell you why, how it’s made, and the brands to look out for.
Canned cocktails and ready-to-drink coffee
The popularity of canned, boozy coffee is the natural combination of a few popular trends. Not only are we drinking more coffee, how and when we’re drinking coffee is also changing. According to Nielsen data, retail sales of canned, prepared cocktails are up 95.3% from November 2018 to 2019. Sales of ready-to-drink coffee are also continuing to grow, with retail sales hitting over $3 billion.
“Historically, we view coffee as a functional beverage we drink in the morning for a pick-me-up,” said Darren Seifer, Food & Beverage Industry Analyst for The NPD Group. “More recently, we’ve noticed consumers are having coffee not just for functional reasons, but for enjoyment. It seems to be opening up a world of companions that’d go along with it.” Enter: canned coffee drinks with alcohol.