Alcoholic Drinks – October 2015 Overview of New Product Launches

This monthly summary highlights the most interesting product launches in October, with a focus on the direction the alcoholic drinks industry is taking in terms of innovative developments.

The Nuclear Option: Entering the Video Game Universe

The semantics of popular culture and the alcoholic drinks industry’s rituals, trends and references have historically shared more than just the occasional pick-me-up. It has been- and remains- a fully-fledged symbiotic relationship.

From cognac’s unlikely yet tight embrace of hip hop culture to the alcopop-fuelled 90s raves mirroring the much-maligned segment’s light hearted fluorescence and from the Mad Men effect ushering in the new golden Bourbon era to the celebrity chef fad providing the seeds for niches such as molecular mixology to emerge, this is, more than anything, an industry of dreams, aspirations, escapism and indulgence.

Emotional investment and the relevance of a brand’s implicit or unequivocal narrative to its core demographic – or lack thereof – are key variables in the seemingly alchemical equation that draws the line between success and failure. It is this need for authentic stories tapping into the zeitgeist that gave birth to the on-going craft revolution – as much if not more so than a sudden and inexplicable collective shift of palates towards bolder flavour profiles.

Celebrity endorsements, signature serves and movie tie-ups have been and will remain key but the digital era and the meteoric rise of new forms of content and engagement are radically changing the playing field. Enter the video games universe.

Video games have moved beyond the restrictive territory of adolescent introspection a long while back. Commanding a huge and fiercely loyal base of adult followers that identify with characters, plotlines and lore, they can nowadays provide immersive experiences blurring the lines between the wor(l)ds in concepts such as virtual reality.

While alcoholic drink and videogame licensing tie ups do face the very real danger of falling foul of draconian advertising regulation in some markets such as the US, the opportunity to regain relevance is too great to miss. Creating specially tailored products that respectfully embrace the universe of the game they are inspired from instead of aggressively high jacking it with awkward product placements will be the key for pushing all the right button with the ever elusive millennial demographic.

Fallout Beer from Carlsberg

Inspired by the record breaking post-nuclear adventure series and following the release of the latest, fourth installment that is expected to sell more than 20 million units around the world, Fallout Beer is a light-colored pilsner lager “with a refreshing zesty hoppy taste and a floral aroma.” It has a 4% abv and a 12-pack costs £29.99. It will be available in the UK and is expected to ship Nov. 5, just a few days before Fallout 4 launches on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

Black Hops Midnight Pale Ale from Black Hops Brewing

Australian beer company Black Hops Brewing has announced a partnership with Activision for a Call of Duty: Black Ops III-inspired beer called “Black Hops Midnight Pale Ale.” It’s described as “light and refreshing with tantalising hop aromas of pine and citrus fruit.” The 4.8% abv beer ships November 2 in Australia only.