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Do Zoomers really want Ziploc bags full of fruity booze?
Plus: High Life hat WTF, hard seltzer's "candy corn conundrum," Sapporo memes + more!
Editor’s note: Welcome to the 113 new readers who joined the Fingers Fam in September. We’re glad to have you! No audio read today because I skipped Monday’s newsletter for a post-wedding break. I’ll have a podcast interview and another read for you next week. If you haven’t yet, please consider buying a subscription. Thanks!
🧾 The Settle-Up
The Settle-Up (née The Bottom Shelf1) is a round-up of headlines from across the beverage landscape—plus some stray items from everywhere else—that caught my interest since last Friday. Think I missed something the Fingers Fam should know about? Drop it in the comments!
— ‘No More Espresso Martinis!’: Why bartenders hate the hottest drink on the planet, according to GrubStreet’s Chris Crowley and a bunch of bartenders who are apparently sick of making them. A fun little anti-trend piece to remind you of simpler times, and remind me of being a part of the NYC media scene. Ah, 2015.
— Sure, Why Not, Part 1 - Topo Chico Margaritas Soon Come: Per a brand release, the alcoholic joint venture between Coca-Cola’s Topo Chico brand and Molson Coors will be rolling out a marg-inspired variety pack in 2022—which is also when they’ll start selling the line in all 50 states (it’s currently in just nine.) Despite being a dramatic deviation from (denigration of?) pre-Coke Topo Chico’s whole ~vibe~, the brand’s hard seltzer line extension is an undeniable beast. But here’s a potential speed-bump: the Topo marg is a malt-based beverage with “tequila notes,” not a tequila-based beverage. Hope they cleared that with Mexico’s occasionally litigious Consejo Regulador del Tequila! Maybe they got a Tequiza-style blessing?
— Sure, Why Not? Part 2 - Candy Corn Bud Light Seltzer Soon Come?: Earlier this week on Twitter,2 Bud Light teased a joke-for-now Halloween addition to its headline-grabbing Fall Flannel Pack hard seltzer pack: candy corn. This is not real, but as your pal Dave has written before, there’s “a long line of liquified marketing gimmicks hustled down our willing gullets by The Brands™,” and it varies as to whether said gimmicks are meant to actually be drank IRL vs. just shared online. Anheuser-Busch InBev’s marketing team knows how to engineer for the latter with surgical precision3, but ultimately these gambits must translate to sales in the beer aisle, where no amount of viral buzz can save a bad product. And so brands—both ABI’s and not, particularly in the flavor-forward FMB space—cast about for viral hits, churning out both vaporware and shit that’ll give you the vapors, hoping to fall ass-backwards into the next big thing. Call it the candy corn conundrum! (Or don’t. Whatever. I’m not your dad.)
— Sure, Why Not? Part 3 - Truly’s Hard Seltzer Taproom Soon Come: Guess it was only a matter of time. The Truly taproom is slated to open “early next year” in an 8,000-square-foot space in downtown Los Angeles. Full disclosure: I purchased some stock in Boston Beer Company, which owns the Truly brand, in September 2021. Fuller disclosure: this seems dumb to me for reasons I might blog about later. Then again, pretty much everything seems dumb to me these days, so what do I know?
— 5-Hour Energy Launches 16 oz. Line with More Caffeine: Everyone’s favorite party prolonger not named “cocaine” is finally making the long-anticipated leap from its semi-iconic mini-shot format to a full-size 16-ounce package. It’ll contain 30mg more caffeine than the shot, or as much as ~2.5 cups of coffee. So, y’know: proceed with caution, kids!
— Could Fruity Alcohol Pouches be the Next Big Thing in the Alcohol Industry? (paywall): There’s a new brand called SUNiCE marketing spiked fruit cocktails in Capri Sun-style resealable bags to ‘90s kids that certainly hopes so! The line is being “built as an Instagrammable brand that can resonate with Generation Z and Millennial consumers” by a couple Pampelonne alums, reports Brewbound’s Justin Kendall. But isn’t marketing boozy nostalgia sacks to barely legal drinkers a red flag for industry watchdogs? Do Zoomers really want to slosh back Ziploc bags of fruity booze? Is SUNiCE DrinkTok’s next Buzz Ballz?4 Is anyone even listening to me?
— An Eight Year-Late Hangover from "Drinking Buddies": “It’s so 2013, but it’s also so pre-May 2021, and it’s a view of beer I don’t want to see again,” writes fellow drinks newsletterer Courtny Iseman about the Anna Kendrick/Ron Livingston/Olivia Wilde/Jake Johnson vehicle Drinking Buddies. (This is the movie, for the uninitiated.) This was a good blog, and I recommend subscribing to Courtney’s newsletter, Hugging the Bar. I do!
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🎩 @MillerHighLife: what hat is this?
You know “the girl in the moon,” Miller High Life’s iconic front-woman? Of course you do. OK, so: what the fuck kind of hat is she wearing? It’s not a sombrero. It’s not a fedora. It’s sort of like a sun hat, but it comes to a huge point at the top, and also the sun is down because she’s in the moon, so why would she be wearing a sun hat??? That wouldn’t make any sense. You know?!
Because I am your fearless Fingers editor, I spoke truth to power by demanding an answer from those corporate hatcats at Molson Coors:
I’m told they’re working on an answer. Apparently there’s a clue in this bizarre, feature-length narrative film the brewery put out in 1954 called With This Ring (not to be confused with the 2015 Lifetime movie by the same name featuring Eve, lol) but I haven’t gotten a chance to watch it yet because I’m chasing a couple deadlines. If you’ve seen that movie, or just know the answer, please, by all means, solve this mystery for us:
Otherwise I guess I’ll view Miller’s post-war propaganda reel this weekend. But rest assured I’ll be playing hardball with the Molson Coors comms department until then:
We deserve the truth, dammit! (NB: Gavin Hattersley is Molson Coors’ CEO. Yes, that’s his Twitter handle. Yes, I am proud of this insanely inside-baseball pun.)
📬 Good post alert
🔝 This week’s top comment
On Wednesday I asked the Fingers fam which American city is the most overrun by bachelor and bachelorette parties. My fellow Beer Byliner, Brewbound’s Jess Infante (no relation, somehow), alerted us to the fact that Salem, Massachusetts has become a bit of a destination for… I don’t know, the former-goth future-brides of the Bay State? Whoever they are, they’re “usually wearing witch hats… I have no idea what they do other than walk around though,” she wrote.
I speculated that they might be there to rip ‘grams in front of the Hocus Pocus house, to which Jess replied:
Is it me or is Hocus Pocus WAY more of a thing now than when we were little? I didn't see it until we moved to Salem. We live two blocks from the house the kids in the movie lived in, slightly outside of all the hoopla, but we still get tourists coming out to see it. The people who live in it are really good natured about it and put out a table of photo props for people to take pictures. Pretty sure the neighbors hate them.
The neighbors definitely hate them! Anyway, if you’d like to nominate a city for being absolutely lousy with bachelor/ette parties, join us in the comments!
Likely ashamed by their frat-sushi days of the not-so-distant past, the Fingers fam double-tapped this meme more than any other posted to the boozeletter’s official Instagram in the past seven days.5 The customer service line at Fingers HQ was ringing off the hook after this one, with feedback including:
“I’m in this photo and I don’t like it”
“Do not attack me like this”
“Please respect my culture”
Those sound like satisfied customers to me! If you haven’t followed Fingers on Instagram yet, you’re missing out on free daily original content about the booze business. Don’t do that! Do this instead:
Your feed will thank you. (Not really, that would be weird. But you know what I mean.)
I changed the name because I’d like to run this news round-up towards the top of the email, and the “bottom” descriptor bugged me. Also, because the bottom shelf is where you find low-grade stuff, and this is anything but. It’s a Fingers rebrand, bay-bee!
Now there’s an opening clause that should fill even the most glass-half-full readers with oceans of dread!
Another absolutely dreadful sentence to write and/or read!