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Holiday-Flavored Beverages

If you’re into carbonated beverages, then certainly you’re familiar with the limited edition holiday flavors that made Seattle-based Jones Soda Company a hit every Thanksgiving. Who hasn’t seen the five-bottle gift pack that included a complete dinner with flavors like Turkey & Gravy, Mashed Potatoes & Butter, and the funky Brussels Sprouts?

And since this is a wellness blog, we’ll note that the company created a Tofurky & Gravy version several years ago.

In that spirit, it’s been fun sampling the oddball holiday seltzer flavors from Polar Beverages of Worcester, Mass. The family-owned company tried out the seasonal flavors this past summer with a Banana-flavored seltzer and a Pina Colada-flavored seltzer, but it wasn’t until Thanksgiving that we were compelled to actually try the stuff.

There are five flavors this fall and winter, according to the company: Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon, Granny Smith Apple, Peppermint Stick and even Eggnog.

These seasonal editions offer a healthier choice of refreshment, while also acting as a gateway to consumers unfamiliar with traditional seltzer,” stated the company press release.

Describing the seltzers as this season’s “health-smart hydration,” CEO and president Ralph Crowley said the specialty flavors are positioned to bridge the gap between what consumer taste buds crave and what their waistline seek.

For example, a typical 8-ounce serving of eggnog is 343 calories (and that’s without the jigger of rum) and a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte (NonFat/NoWhip/Grande) is 288 calories,” the release stated. “The Polar Seltzer equivalents are zero calories, but with still the same aromas and flavor references.”

While the idea of limited editions isn’t new, their frequency is fairly uncommon. It’s a risky move, in that consumers might reject the flavor (look what happened with Coke’s white cans — and that was just the color). In the case of Jones’ irreverent Thanksgiving dinner flavors, or Polar’s holiday whimsies, consumers don’t object because the company has built up enough loyalty; there’s an unprecedented level of trust — the lifeblood of every food and beverage manufacturer out there.

A good number of wellness manufacturers can consider themselves in the same class. And why not? This is an industry that is re-defining the way we look at food, and the way we eat. We’re talking about a completely alternative holiday, from organic cranberries and gluten-free pumpkin pie to tofu turkey and cinnamon-flavored seltzer. Grandma might not know what to think, but the rest of us do.

[Photo credit: Polar Beverages]

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