Narragansett Inspires Shandy-monium

Sales of Narragansett Beer’s recently released Del’s Shandy are “out of control,” according to Mark Hellendrung, the president and CEO of the Rhode Island-based craft brewery.

“There are some stores that sold 100 cases just yesterday,” he said. “It’s nuts. We’ve got retailers going to the distributors, picking it up on off-day deliveries.”

A new summertime creation, Del’s Shandy is a blend of Narragansett Beer and Del’s Lemonade, an iconic frozen lemonade brand from New England.

The new product is actually the second installment in the company’s “Hi Neighbor Mash-Up” series, where it collaborates with other New England brands. After the demand for Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout (the winter collaborative brew between ‘Gansett and Autocrat Coffee that served as first in the mash-up series) far outweighed the supply, the brewery buckled down and produced four times as much product this time around in an effort to better slake the market’s thirst.

“And we’re out of stock,” added Hellendrung.

So what’s behind all the shandy-monium? Hellendrung attributes the early sell-through to the convergence of two well-known brands, which creates a “powerful emotional connection” amongst consumers.

“I think it’s really just having interest from [the consumer’s] deeply rooted passions about whether its summer with the Del’s, and childhood memories, and localness, and just really iconic brands,” said Hellendrung. “One of the ingredients to the success of this thing is people are saying, ‘this makes absolutely perfect sense. Del’s and Narragansett. Why wouldn’t they do it?’”

Those emotional connections, Hellendrung said, appeal to crossover beer drinkers that otherwise might not have been brand loyal to Narragansett.

“The amount of Del’s we’ve sold in the last 48 hours is just — it’s people who might be drinking wine, or might be drinking Bud Light, or might be drinking Deep Eddy Vodka, and [they’re] just really excited to try this thing that just taps into their inner-core and their soul.”

The collaborative efforts with other local businesses have been a boon for the brewery’s flagship lager as well.

“It’s brought us into new bars,” Hellendrung said. “It gets us bigger displays in the package stores with better presence.”

That’s good news for the company’s Lager, which currently comprises 80 percent of the company’s total sales.

Going forward, the “Hi Neighbor” mash-up concoctions figure to play a bigger role in the company’s business, with Del’s and the aforementioned Autocrat serving as the series’ anchors. Beyond those products, the company is planning to “wedge” something in between the two beers in early fall and spring time, Hellendrung said. The company is currently in talks with other local companies for future collaborations, though Hellendrung could not discuss specifics.

Del’s Shandy will be brewed through July and available until Labor Day. Six-packs of 16 oz. cans have a suggested retail price of $8.99 and are sold throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.

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