In the past 48 hours I’ve received news announcements about craft coffee, craft chocolate, craft soda and craft alcoholic soda.
We might not be sure what ‘craft’ actually means, but it’s undeniably popular.
Craft soda is going to “blow up”, apparently. That’s what Duncan O’Brien, founder of Dalston’s, said a couple of months ago after striking a deal to have its range distributed through 150 Greene King pubs in London.
Putting aside the fact that I believe there’s a long way to go before this country really embraces the word soda – it’s a soft drink, please – it’s an interesting claim. Will it blow up beyond the big cities, and what does ‘blow up’ actually mean?
It jumped back into my mind when we got tasters of the new Crooked Beverage range of ‘alcoholic craft sodas’.
The 330ml can designs look like a modern craft beer. They are modern, bright and exciting, reminiscent of Beavertown or Magic Rock. They would sit alongside any strong craft beer display, and stand out from other canned soft drink offerings.
The flavours are bang on trend – blood oranges and raspberries have been leaping into craft beers at a phenomenal rate, while passionfruit and lime have been sitting in ciders for a couple of years now.
At the start of the year I wrote about how cider is following the 330ml can trend laid down by craft beers, with Thatchers, Bulmers and Caple Road launching small can varieties.
It looks like there is more mileage in this, if RTD (ready-to-drink) beverages – traditionally Smirnoff Ice and WKD-type drinks – fall into both the small can and craft-focused paths.
A quick glimpse at the header image on the Londis Weymouth Beer Facebook page, run from Dave Hiscutt’s store, shows a split range of cans and bottled craft beer. I said in January that thinking about how you cater for this format change is something that should be done sooner rather than later.
I can only echo that call now.