Arby's is aiming to forge a middle ground between comfort food and cocktails in a society that loves both.
On Tuesday, the fast food chain announced the release of a limited-edition Arby’s Curly Fry and Crinkle Fry Vodka (no, really). It's the latest creative spin that companies are trying to put on traditional consumer favorites.
The 80-proof spirits are made from potato vodka and distilled with real ingredients inspired by the brand’s Curly and Crinkle Fry flavor profiles. The products retail for $59.99 and will be available in limited quantities on November 18, and in a second drop on November 22 on ArbysVodka.com.
“Arby’s recently added a Crinkle-cut option to accompany our iconic Curly Fries, providing another choice for fry-lovers,” Patrick Schwing, Arby's chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
“Though we’ve mastered the art of drive-thru fries, we wanted to take it one step further – by making them 80-proof. Being a potato-based liquor, this limited-edition vodka is infused with crinkle and curly fry flavor so Arby’s fans can enjoy our menu from bag to bottle," Schwing added.
In recent years, more food brands have adopted similar limited-edition rollouts (and alcohol-based products) to attract new consumers, and drive greater traffic toward core items.
Last month, Kraft-Heinz's (KHC) Grey Poupon introduced a limited-edition wine made from mustard seeds, honeysuckle and viognier grapes from the south of France. The brand sold out in just one day.
Meanwhile, Cheez-Itz unveiled a sparkling wine following the success of its limited-edition red and rosé wine cracker boxes whereas Taco Bell (YUM) rolled out 'Jalapeño Noir' to pair with the relaunch of its toasted cheesy chalupa last year.
Overall, flavored vodka is one of the fastest growing segments in spirits.
Even beer giant Natural "Natty" Light (BUD) hopped on the trend last month, introducing a new product line in three flavors — lemonade, strawberry lemonade, and black cherry.
According to recent CFRA research, 2020's COVID-19 spikes caused U.S. alcohol consumption to spike by the fastest rate in 18 years. Volumes grew 2%, despite steep drop offs in on-premise sales from restaurants, bars and event venues, as consumers daink more in their homes.
With at-home consumption on the rise, the report noted that U.S. consumer demand is being driven by flavor, convenience, and "better-for-you" options.
Meanwhile, "flavored subcategories – from beer to vodka to U.S. whiskey – are significantly outperforming traditional non-flavored subcategories. Flavor is also the top consumer driver of the fast-growing ready-to-drink category, and that’s likely creating a halo effect on total alcohol as well," market analytics firm IWSR said recently.
Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193
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