Boston Beer Co. Doubles Down On Hard Tea With Sun Cruiser


Boston Beer Co. is flying close to the sun, and investing further in the beyond beer space, with the launch of a new hard iced tea.

Sun Cruiser Iced Tea & Vodka differentiates itself from the Sam Adams parent company’s existing hard iced tea offerings through its combination of real vodka and real iced tea, while Twisted Tea is a malt beverage. The 4.5% ABV non-carbonated beverage also is designed to appeal to drinkers looking for a lighter option, with 100 calories and 1 gram of sugar per 12 oz. can.

Sun Cruiser is launching with four varieties: Classic Iced Tea, Lemonade + Iced Tea, Raspberry and Peach. The release is currently rolling out across 17 markets -- including the majority of the East Coast, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, and Southern California –  with national distribution to follow later in the year.



“The hard iced tea and ready-to-drink space is on fire -- seeing continued double-digit growth this year,” senior brand director Erica Taylor said in a statement, citing Circana data from Feb. 11 showing hard iced tea sales up 25% year-to-date and RTD spirits up 52% YTD. “And there’s no better way to celebrate our rollout than by popping up in the sky for the sun’s biggest moment this year: the solar eclipse,” she added.

To that end, the brand is launching a promotional giveaway, giving fans a chance to watch the upcoming solar eclipse on April 8 from a hot air balloon. The “Cruise The Sun with Sun Cruiser” sweepstakes offers fans the chance to win an all-expenses trip for themself and a guest to Columbus, Ohio, where they’ll ride in the Sun Cruiser hot air balloon to watch the sun travel along the path of totality (where the moon will block out the sun for several minutes during the eclipse). Fans of legal drinking age can enter via a dedicated landing page, with the winner announced by April 1.  

The strategic launch arrives as Michael Spillane replaces the retiring Dave Burwick as Boston Beer Co. CEO, effective April 1. It appears to be part of a c focus on the growing parts of the company’s beyond-beer business. which it highlighted as a bright spot in its most recent earnings call. During that call, the company noted that its Twisted Tea brand had 29% dollar sales growth for the quarter.

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