As Boulevard Brewing Co. nears its 30th anniversary in November, the brewery continues to innovate with the launch of Fling Craft Cocktails. The Kansas City brewery recently announced the creation of Boulevard Beverage Co. a subsidiary that will produce four all-natural, ready-to-drink cocktails packaged in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. Flavors include Blood Orange Vodka Soda, Cucumber Lime Gin and Tonic, Margarita and Mai Tai.
These low-calorie, low-carbohydrate cocktails represent Boulevard’s first foray outside of craft beer.
“While we’ll always remain first and foremost a craft brewer, sometimes you just want something different,” Boulevard president Jeff Krum said in a press release. “We have the facilities and the equipment and the talent to make all kinds of interesting and delicious beverages, and we’re excited by the opportunity to give consumers more choices, to go where they go.”
Nationally, the number of craft breweries and brands continues to grow and crowd retail shelves and taps. Elsewhere in the beverage market, soft drink companies have expanded their portfolios for years by acquiring or developing brands of energy drinks, teas, bottled water and juices. Diversification is one strategy for Boulevard to reach craft beer-drinkers and others with a fresh product line that taps into the ready-to-drink market and low-calorie, low-carb trends.
“Boulevard Beverage Co. is a new venture, but more than that, it’s an adventure,” says Natalie Gershon, VP of Marketing at Boulevard. “Well-aligned with the changing consumer trends, many Boulevardians, all longtime beer-lovers, tend to dabble in other delicious offerings. Ready-to-drink craft cocktails are an exciting playground for our team and are certainly an alternative to beer, for those looking for one.”
Fling’s concept was an opportunity for Boulevard to use its creative strengths in beverage development and expand its range of offerings.
“As experts in the fine art of flavor, we’ve stepped out of our sandbox, pushed boundaries and explored new territory in a drive to deliver the best and most interesting adult beverages,” says Gershon. “We have the facilities and the equipment and the talent to make all kinds of interesting and delicious beverages.”
The research and development process for Fling mirrored the brewery’s approach to devising new beer brands. “Much like beer, the creation of a new flavor of Fling Craft Cocktails starts with some personal inspiration, the desire to drink something delicious and the excitement that comes from playing with new ingredients,” Gershon says.
The initial line-up is geared for warm weather imbibing, begging the question of whether other cocktail flavors, such as a Manhattan or Mint Julep, might be added later.
“We created a list of our favorite cocktails, did a lot of ‘research’ and after many months of recipe versioning, we settled on these four to kick off the Fling line,” says Gershon. “They are perfectly crafted for warm weather and great fun. However, we have much more in the queue and we are excited to expand Fling in the very near future.”
Fling will debut at Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals’ opening day on March 28. Regional distribution will begin in early April, with national expansion occurring throughout 2019.
Fling Craft Cocktails, boulevard.com/fling