Bud Light Lime-a-Rita (2012)
It would be hard to predict the success of a Margarita-flavored malt beverage named after a light beer brand. Yet the Bud Light Lime-a-Rita Margarita-flavored malt beverage has exploded in just three years, snagging a whopping 47% share of the FMB category.
Introduced in 2012, Bud Light Lime-a-Rita sold 7.3 million 2.25-gallon cases in its first year. The brand’s flavor extensions, which include Mang-O-Rita, Raz-Ber-Rita and Straw-Ber-Rita, have proved more popular than the original. Seasonal flavors include the fall Apple-Rita and Cran-Brr-Rita, as well as Bud Light Lime Lemon-Ade-Rita, which launched last summer.
The ’Ritas line (along with Angry Orchard hard cider)made Nielsen list of U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Winners for 2014. The product has enabled Anheuser-Busch InBev to reach more women drinkers, something that’s been a challenge for many with mainstream beer brands.
Ancho Reyes (2014)
Given all the different spirits and flavors to hit the market just in the past five years, it’s getting harder to come up with something unique. But chile-flavored liqueur Ancho Reyes did just that, tapping into the spicy/savory/sweet cocktail trend with a premium product. In less than a year, the brand has become an indispensible player on the back bar.
Launched in 2014 by William Grant & Sons, Ancho Reyes is inspired by a 1927 recipe from the Reyes family in Mexico. It’s made using ancho chile (open-air-dried poblano chiles) soaked in a neutral cane spirit for six months, then blended and aged to allow the flavors to further mesh.
The bronze-colored liqueur strikes a balance between spicy, savory and sweet, so it’s complex and intriguing on its own and versatile in cocktails.
Ancho Reyes enables bartenders to add heat to Mexican classic such as the Margarita and Paloma, as well as create sophisticated new libations. Perhaps the ultimate compliment, it’s been refered to by some as “the new St. Germain.”
Melissa Dowling is editor of Cheers Magazine.