If you had to infer consumer preferences from the actions of companies in a given marketplace, you might conclude that nobody wants to drink beer anymore. Every day brings fresh news of some late-acting brewery pivoting from alcoholic beverages with hops and malt to something lighter and more refreshing.
The latest such example is LIIT, a product of Anheuser Busch subsidiary Blue Point Brewing whose name is equal parts misleading and groan-inducing. You see, that’s because it’s an acronym for Long Island Iced Tea, the potent cocktail made with vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and triple sec that nobody drinks if they’re planning to stay under the legal limit that night. It also looks like the word “lit,” which youths used to describe a fun party or exciting situation back in 2017.
While you’d think that LIIT would function as a canned version of the cocktail that LIITerally inspired its name, well, you’re wrong. Instead, LIIT is just a spiked iced tea made by a brewery founded on Long Island. It weighs in at 5% ABV (pretty reasonable compared to its namesake), and is available in Lemon Black Tea, Mango Green Tea, and Raspberry Lime Hibiscus flavors. So, it kind of tries to lean into the whole “tea” thing.
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To Blue Point, the attempt to enter an increasingly crowded marketplace for “not beer” with something that emphasizes the “tea” in “hard iced tea” is some sort of rebellious act of innovation.
“In typical Blue Point fashion, while everyone is rushing to innovate within the seltzer space, we’ve been busy looking towards what’s next,” Blue Point general manager Carrie Shafir said in a press release. “Our hard sparkling teas are for the consumer who wants a little more than what a hard seltzer is giving them, without sacrificing on the ‘better-for-you’ qualities.”
It’s hard to exactly tell what sort of nutritional advantages LIIT has over the spiked seltzers it wants to displace. Its 120 calories are more than what you’d find in a 12-ounce White Claw, and has more than twice as much sugar (added or natural). But hey, at least they’re both gluten-free. Blue Point’s LIIT will hit store shelves in 12-can variety packs starting on August 1, available in New York and surrounding states for now.
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