Wisconsin a test market for new line of low-calorie spiked sodas

Wisconsin is one of two select regional markets that will be drinking the new line of sugar-free, low-calorie spiked sodas from Hamilton, New Jersey-based beverage brand Crook & Marker.

Ben Weiss started Crook & Marker in 2018 to create low-calorie drinks made with organic alcohol.

The brand’s new line of Crook & Marker Spiked Sodas will be nationally distributed in early 2020. Currently, the new alcoholic sodas are available in two markets, Wisconsin and Montana. The spiked sodas are sold at Target, Total Wine, Town Pump, Albertson’s, Woodman’s, Festival Foods and Piggly Wiggly.

“The company said it selected Wisconsin as one of the two launch markets due to the strength of the company’s wholesaler relationships as well as strong consumer demand in the market,” a company spokesperson said via email.

The spiked sodas come in four flavors: classic cola, lemon lime, ginger ale and root beer. Each soda is 80 calories with no sugar or caffeine. The beverages are also non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free with no artificial flavors.

“Soda has become a bad four-letter word in many households across America not because anyone ever fell out of love with the taste of soda, just the sugar and broken ingredients that came with it,” Weiss said in a press release. “When other alcohol companies tried hard sodas, they didn’t bother fixing the ingredients, which is why consumers never held on.”

The new spiked soda is made with Crook & Marker’s BaseBrew organic alcohol, produced from “ancient grains” and “superfoods” such as quinoa, amaranth and cassava root. Each can of Crook & Marker Spiked Soda contains 4% alcohol-by-volume.

This is the latest product line in Crook & Marker’s “Better for You” portfolio. The company released the Spiked and Sparkling beverages, which comes in eight different fruit flavors – blackberry lime, coconut pineapple, grapefruit, mango, peach, strawberry lemon, tangerine and black cherry.

Weiss previously founded Bai Antioxidant Beverages before Dr Pepper Snapple Group purchased the company in 2017 for $1.7 billion. Weiss said that Crook & Marker attracts Bai customers who have grown up and begun purchasing alcoholic beverages.

“We see today’s consumers, particularly millennials who are now all of legal drinking age, reject sugar, carbs and ultimately calories, but still demand great flavor and enjoyment. We believe hard seltzers were just the first stop in their pursuit for a better way to drink,” Weiss said in a press release.

Margaret Naczek, Milwaukee Business Journal

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