Drink Up

Drink Up

July 2021   minute read

By: Kim Stewart

Like July, ready-to-drink coffee and cocktails are smoking hot right now, with sales still growing and a ton of new products to explore, so I’m trying to keep up. I’m not a coffee drinker. Loose-leaf lavender Earl Grey tea leaves steeped in a proper ceramic tea pot with water boiled in an electric kettle get me going most mornings. I blame my failure to develop a taste for coffee on my grandmother, who let me try a cup when I was 5 years old. Absolutely disgusting.

Editing this month’s magazine made me curious to branch out in the RTD canned cocktail/hard seltzer categories.

I enjoy the smell of brewing coffee, but there’s a disconnect between how coffee smells and how it actually tastes, to me at least. I do, however, like cold brews (thank you Panera Madagascar Vanilla Cream Cold Brew!) and bottled RTDs like Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, which was one of the top 10 sellers last year in the packaged beverages category (see “Hot Sellers” and “Caffeine Fix”). I’ve seen so many ads recently for Chobani Coffee Cold Brew With Sweet Creamer that when I saw it at my local Harris Teeter—2/$7—I put two 32-ounce cartons in my shopping cart. Needless to say, the Chobani cold brew was a huge hit in my house. With 85 milligrams of caffeine (compared with about 50 milligrams in my usual Earl Grey cup), the cold brew left me more awake than usual on my Beltway commute.

Editing this month’s magazine (see “Seltzer Surge”) made me curious to branch out in the RTD canned cocktail/hard seltzer categories beyond the White Claw, High Noon and Cape Line that I probably indulged in too much last summer as “two weeks to flatten the curve” stretched into months. I’m not very far into this RTD journey, so a recent outdoor get-together with my sister’s family was the perfect opportunity to show up with a variety of RTDs in the alcohol space.

Some of the concoctions we tried were iffy (too much coconut, for instance), some were light on calories but also taste, and some have earned their spot in our garage fridge. One of those is from Delaware-based Dogfish Head Distilling Co., which released its first ready-to-drink canned cocktail in 2017. If you like whiskey sour cocktails, I recommend Cherry Bergamot Whiskey Sour from Dogfish. (Note: Any products I mention here are my own endorsements.) Next up, craft beer collaborations between convenience stores and breweries (see “Crushing on Craft Brews”)!

I’m hoping summer finds you healthy of mind and body, so you can step out and enjoy some of the people and activities you may have missed last year. In my neck of the woods, the cicadas are calling to each other, the neighborhood pool is alive with happy kids and it’s nearly time for an after-work libation.

Cheers, my friends!

Kim Stewart

Kim Stewart

Kim Stewart is NACS editorial director and editor-in-chief of NACS Magazine. She can be reached at kstewart@ convenience.org.

To provide complete functionality, this web site needs your explicit consent to store browser cookies. We recommended that you "allow all cookies" so you may be able to use certain features, such as logging in, saving articles, or personalizing content.