Sonic Hard Slush, Sonic Hard Southern Sweet Tea roll out

New drinks to have distribution across different regions of US

COOP Beverage Works rolled out Sonic Hard Southern Sweet Tea and Sonic Hard Slush as two new adult beverage offerings. COOP Ale Works, its parent, has licensed from and partnered with Sonic Drive-In to offer a line of hard beverages, including RTD (ready-to-drink) cocktail drinks and hard seltzers as part of the line of Sonic Hard Beverages. The new rollout comes on the heels of the release of Sonic Hard Seltzer last spring.

Sonic Hard Southern Sweet Tea packs the taste of tea with a hint of lemon, targeting even avid hart-tea drinkers. With an ABV of 5%, Sonic Hard Southern Sweet Tea will come in 12-ounce slim can 12-packs and 24-ounce cans beginning Fall 2022 at select retailers.

Besides the Sonic Hard Southern Sweet Tea, Sonic Hard Slush will offer something new in the RTD frozen (cocktail) pouch world. It offers flavors inspired by Sonic Drive-In’s beverage lineup. With a 6% ABV, Sonic Slush line includes flavors like Cherry Limeade, Blue Raspberry and Watermelon. The drinks will be available at select retailers across several states in the fall of 2022. Distribution in additional states will be realized by March 2023.

The partnership between COOP and Sonic is opportunistic as RTD adult beverages continue to grow, and differentiated brands have bucked contraction trends. As BevNet noted, Twisted Tea is an example of bucking the slowdown, growing more than 6% while its category up-ticked just 2.1%. Sonic Hard Beverages, walking their own path, can create excitement among consumers of such drinks.

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The publication also noted, citing data from Nielsen, that both hard seltzers and hard tea have contracted, but continue to grow. Hard seltzers grew 158.9% in January 2021 from the previous year, on a trailing 12-month basis, but this year, grew 11.5%. Flavored malt (including hard tea) saw a 17.1% gain in 2021, but bumped up only 2.1% in 2022, also on a trailing basis to January. RTD Cocktails, however, grew 1171.1% in 2022 after growing 157.4% the previous year.

Below are the states that will carry Sonic Hard Southern Sweet Tea. (Those marked with an “X” will carry the Sonic Hard Slush, too. Neither the slush nor the tea drink will be available for purchase at Sonic Drive-In locations, according to a statement from the QSR.):

  • Alabama X
  • Arizona X
  • Arkansas X
  • California X
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia X
  • Idaho
  • Illinois X
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana X
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi X
  • Missouri X
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada X
  • New Mexico X
  • New York
  • North Carolina X
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma X
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas X
  • Virginia X
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
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“After tremendous support and response from across the country for SONIC Hard Seltzer, it became clear that the SONIC fan is enjoying the experience of their favorite SONIC beverages in adult form,” said Sean Mossman, president of COOP Beverage Works. “Adult Hard Tea and Adult Hard Slush are natural brand extensions, and we are all excited for our fans to be able to try these amazing flavors.”

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