Last fall saw Red Lobster Seafood Co. and PepsiCo, Inc. leverage their food and beverage brands with several new menu items, starting with the DEW Garita, the first official MTN DEW cocktail.
Officials say DEW Garita pairs perfectly with Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Made with an exclusive recipe, the cocktail rolled out to select Red Lobster restaurants last September and was nationwide at the end of 2020.
"Red Lobster and PepsiCo both understand how much food and beverages enhance memorable moments, from casual gatherings with friends to milestone celebrations," said Hugh Roth, chief customer officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice. "With both of our brands on deck to wow guests, we can't wait to dream up more phenomenal flavor pairings together to bring some very special offerings and experiences to the table."
Red Lobster guests also can select a broad range of beverages from PepsiCo including PEPSI, MTN DEW and STUBBORN craft soda, as well as bubly sparkling water, LIFEWTR, TROPICANA and non-carbonated options such as lemonade and agua fresca.
Officials say Red Lobster and PepsiCo innovation teams also are looking for ways to co-create more menu items from other PepsiCo brands across the Frito-Lay and Quaker range of products.
"Red Lobster is thrilled to work with PepsiCo, not only because it has a great portfolio of brands, but specifically because of the food and beverage innovation possibilities," said Nelson Griffin, Reb Lobster senior vice president and chief supply chain officer. "The DEW Garita is the first delicious taste of the types of inspired menu items to come."
Post Meridiem Spirits, Atlanta, continues to expand foodservice distribution for its namesake line of canned, ready-to-drink cocktails.
Founded in 2017 by partners Andrew Rodbell and Charles Sain, Post Meridiem offers five varieties: The Real Lime Juice Margarita, The Double Old Fashioned, The Hemingway Daiquiri, The 1944 Mai Tai and The Lemongrass Vodka Gimlet. Post Meridiem debuted in May 2019 and officials note that each of the five varieties medaled at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition and SIP Awards.
“We decided it’s time ready-to-drink cocktails were made with real ingredients at the right proportions. We are especially proud to be the only canned pre-mixed cocktail using 100% real juice,” says Rodbell. “Our vision is to make real ingredient cocktails as convenient and effortless as beer and wine.”
In addition to real juice, Rodbell adds that Post Meridiem’s branded namesake products feature distilled spirits, imported liqueurs and carefully-matched bitters. Specifically, labeled ingredients include barrel-aged whiskey, tequila imported from Mexico, multiple rums, maraschino liqueur imported from Italy, and 100% real citrus juice. All drinks are hand-crafted, range from 24% to 37% alcohol-by-volume and are sold in single-serve 100mL steel-walled cans.
Post Meridiem products are available in liquor stores as well as hotels, venues and some restaurants.
The “AHA” Moment
A year after introducing its new sparking water brand, AHA, at retail, The Coca-Cola Company’s North American Operating Unit, Atlanta, began offering a two fountain varieties of AHA to foodservice operators.
AHA Lime + Watermelon debuted in March followed by AHA Blueberry + Pomegranate in April. Both flavors come packaged in 2.5-gallon bag-in-box containers.
AHA launched with eight retail flavor fusion varieties including Lime + Watermelon, Strawberry + Cucumber, Citrus + Green Tea, Black Cherry + Coffee, Orange + Grapefruit, Apple + Ginger, Blueberry + Pomegranate and Peach + Honey. All offerings are calorie-free and sodium-free.
Coca-Cola officials say Americans are drinking sparkling water in more occasions and times of day—and for more reasons—than ever. The AHA research and development team intentionally developed aromatic flavor combinations to meet these evolving needs. For example, Lime + Watermelon and Strawberry + Cucumber profiles meet the desire for “flavor-forward refreshment.” Meanwhile, varieties such as Citrus + Green Tea and Black Cherry + Coffee include 30mg of added caffeine for a little morning or afternoon pick-me-up.
“As the largest and fastest-growing part of the water business, mainstream flavored sparkling water is a segment we know we must double-down on,” said Celina Li, vice president, Water. “AHA is our big-bet brand in this big-bet category.”