Canned Beverages Have New Look, Tastes and Packaging

Single-serve drinks promise wellness, health and maybe a bit of a buzz.

July 22, 2021

Beverage Cans

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Today, nearly 400 billion drinks cans are produced every year, and recently, the scope of the can has greatly expanded, reports the New York Times. As American tastes move away from artificial flavorings, sugar and in some cases even alcohol, a glut of new single-portion drinks brands are emerging to promise everything from wellness to tipsiness.

Though the hard-seltzer boom of the past five years has given consumers many choices, the latest offerings—fruit-flavored seltzers, botanical mixers or artisanal cocktails—seem designed to appeal to millennials and Gen Zers. They are typically low-carb, low-additive, low-calorie, low-sugar and low-alcohol, if they have any at all, with trendy names.

For instance, Recess is a line of drinks and powders that advertises itself as an “antidote to modern times.” Benjamin Witte, the brand’s founder and CEO, aims to produce products that help consumers feel “calm and relaxed in distinct ways at different moments throughout the day,” he told the Times. Witte said the latest range, Recess Mood, uses magnesium L-threonate, “a new and highly efficacious form of magnesium,” to “catalyze the production of dopamine and serotonin” in the brain.

Recess follows Kin, a range of alcohol-free “euphorics” intended to generate a “booze-free high.” Kin Spritz blends hibiscus and licorice, with nootropics such as caffeine and the adaptogen rhodiola rosea, which, the company says, “supports the balance” of cortisol, the fight or flight hormone.

Another emergent theme is the ready-to-drink can that doubles as a mixer. In 15 years, the British tonic water company Fever-Tree has built a multibillion-dollar empire with the slogan, “If three-quarters of your drink is the mixer, mix with the best.”

British American startup Avec and its competitors are hoping for a slice of that pie. Avec’s flavors are bold and made with high-quality ingredients but no artificial additives. Something & Nothing, a U.K. beverage company, produces “seltzers for the curious.” Another brand, Ghia, promotes its signature drink is a nonalcoholic aperitif featuring grapefruit and orange notes. A final noteworthy standout line is Curious Elixirs, which includes five nonalcoholic cocktails presented in brown glass containers.

Canned cocktails and hard seltzers are driving store traffic due to their convenience, portability and unique flavor combinations. Read more in “Bottoms Up” and “Seltzer Surge” in NACS Magazine.

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