Exclusive: High Noon, the top-selling canned cocktail, is expanding beyond vodka – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) — As sales of canned cocktails and of tequila soar, High Noon is looking to capitalize on that combo.
The top-selling adult beverage is introducing a tequila seltzer to its portfolio, marking the four-year-old brand’s first extension beyond its popular vodka lineup. High Noon Tequila Seltzer hits shelves Wednesday in the United States and will be sold in an 8-pack containing four flavors (lime, grapefruit, passionfruit and strawberry) for a suggested retail price of $21.99.
With consumers’ interest in malt-based seltzers fading (i.e. Truly’s struggles), drinkers are gravitating toward more flavorful and spirit-based canned cocktails, according to Britt West, general manager of spirits at High Noon’s parent company E. &. J. Gallo.
“With the fast-growing rise of tequila, it seemed like a natural fit for High Noon considering we pioneered putting real spirits in to seltzer, so tequila was a natural extension of that,” he told CNN.
The numbers back that up: Premixed cocktails and tequila were the two fastest growing categories by revenue in 2022, according to a recent report from Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Sales of the former shot up nearly 36% and the latter rose 17%.
Adding tequila to High Noon’s portfolio could help expand the company’s base because a “tequila consumer is often not a vodka consumer so we felt there was an undeserved market for people who would want a real spirit and real juice tequila-based product,” West said.
Or course, High Noon Tequila Seltzer isn’t the first tequila-based premixed cocktail. “Ranch Water,” a combination of tequila, lime juice and Topo Chico, has proven successful for Molson Coors’ Topo Chico-branded seltzer lineup. Canned margaritas are popular with other brands, such as Cutwater Spirits and Cazadores Tequila.
However, West said that his brand has the first seltzer that simply mixes tequila with juice without added sugar. He described the taste as a “fairly light delivery” without the punchy bite of a typical tequila drink.
Rise of High Noon
High Noon is owned by privately held E. & J. Gallo Winery, an 89-year-old company that makes well-known wines such as Barefoot, Carlo Rossi and Manischewitz kosher wine. Its first spirit was brandy, a no-brainer for a winery, which it began selling in the 1970s.
In the early 2000s, Gallo expanded its spirits lineup to include New Amsterdam vodka and it currently sells a variety of alcohols, including tequila and scotch whiskey.
Gallo jumped on the canned cocktail craze in 2019 with High Noon, a vodka base mixed with several types juice including lime, lemon and mango. “Consumers were gravitating toward these products that had functional attributes, such as being under 100 calories with zero carbs and zero sugar,” West said.
So far, sales of High Noon’s seltzers are growing faster compared to malt-based seltzers such as Bud Light Seltzer. Sales of High Noon rose nearly 100% last year, making it the top-selling spirit-based canned cocktail, according to data from IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm Meanwhile, Truly and Bud Light Seltzer sales each dropped roughly 20%.
West expects the canned cocktail trend to continue to grow, notably at the expense of beer.
He said that refrigerated shelf space that has been “traditionally reserved” for beer at stores will be taken over by High Noon and similar products because “consumer demand has really opened up that space” for alternatives.
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