Lipton Is the Latest Soft Drink to Get Boozy with Hard Iced Teas

Arriving in the first half of 2023, the five-percent ABV malt beverage will launch with four flavors.

Lipton tea bags
Photo: Good Luck Images / Shutterstock

At a time when people are supposedly drinking less and non- and low-alcohol alternatives are seeing a boom, the opposite is true, too, as soft drinks are going the boozy route. Hard Mtn Dew, Fresca canned cocktails, even Coca-Cola teaming up with Jack Daniel's for the first official packaged Jack & Coke: Alcohol partnerships are starting to feel like not an "if," but a "when."

Even big name teas aren't safe. Today, the Buffalo-based brewer FIFCO USA — which produces brands like Labatt, Genesee, Pyramid, Magic Hat, and, importantly in this instance, Seagram's Escapes flavored malt beverages — announced they'd reached a deal with the Pepsi-owned brand Lipton to produce Lipton Hard Iced Tea.

With plans for a launch as soon as the first half of next year, FIFCO USA says they've licensed the name to develop, manufacture, and market a line of products which will then be sold through the Blue Cloud Distribution network. The hard teas will "compete in the 5 percent ABV flavored malt beverages segment" and are set to initially land "in select geographies" in four flavors: Lemon, Peach, Strawberry, and Half and Half.

"Connecting America's favorite tea brand with Fifco's expertise in this hot and growing segment allows us to leverage 130 years of brand history that consumers already know and love," said CEO Piotr Jurjewicz. "Our FIFCO USA product development team stayed true to Lipton's high quality and great taste. And based on our consumer research, we expect a strong brand launch and great response from consumers."

Blue Cloud Distribution is no newcomer in this game either — it's a subsidiary of PepsiCo. And despite its recent agreement with FIFCO USA, Blue Cloud also currently works with another brewer, the Boston Beer Company, to distribute another Pepsi-owned brand that's gone hard: Hard Mtn Dew.

"As Blue Cloud Distribution continues to expand on early success as a wholesaler in the RTD alcohol space, we are thrilled to serve as the national distributor of this exciting innovation by FIFCO USA," Emiliano Di Vincenzo, the subsidiary's general manager, stated. "We are confident we will be able to deliver best-in-class execution for this product in the marketplace."

But does anyone really want a hard Lipton? Interestingly, Twisted Tea — which is also made by Boston Beer Company and is currently the best selling hard tea brand — has been around since 2001 and is still kicking.

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