Four Loko maker Phusion Projects plans to launch a 14% ABV hard seltzer sometime in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The Four Loko Twitter account teased the launch Tuesday night, posting an image of the forthcoming seltzer that quickly garnered 76,700 likes and 21,400 retweets, as of press time. The tweet showed the image of a can of a flavor called “sour with a hint of blue razz” in front of other seltzer offerings, including hard seltzer segment leaders White Claw and Truly, with the text “Hard Seltzers ran so we could fly.” A tagline printed on the can refers to Four Loko seltzer as the “hardest Seltzer in the universe.”
Phusion Projects co-founder and managing partner Jaisen Freeman confirmed to Brewbound that Four Loko Seltzer will be introduced later this year.
Phusion Projects had planned to test market Four Loko Seltzer at the start of 2020, but those plans changed after Tuesday night’s social media tease, Freeman said.
“The response has been overwhelming and we broke the internet in just a matter of hours,” he wrote. “Four Loko was the #2 trending topic nationally on Twitter last night. This is unheard of for any brand launch, especially in the alcohol industry.”
As such, the company is moving up the launch to Q4.
“We received millions of impressions in less than 24 hours from a single post,” he said. “Seltzer and Four Loko fans have spoken, and we plan to give them what they want.”
According to Freeman, Phusion Projects has been monitoring the hard seltzer segment and “waiting for our moment to jump into the game.” He added that Four Loko drinkers had been demanding a “seltzer-like product” but the company didn’t want to simply follow a trend.
“We believe the seltzer category is here to stay and will be segmented similar to every other consumer packaged goods category,” he wrote. “Our lane has always been about more. More flavor. More ABV. More value. We’re not here to fit in. We’re here to stand out.”
Freeman declined to offer additional details at this time, but he said more information would be available in the coming weeks.
Phusion Projects’ entry into the hard seltzer space — which market research firm Nielsen projects to be a $1 billion industry by the end of the year — comes as other brewing giants announced new launches this week.
Anheuser-Busch InBev officially announced the launch of a 6 percent ABV Natural Light Seltzer in two flavors, Aloha Beaches (mango and peach) and Catalina Lime Mixer (black cherry and lime). That product is expected to be priced about 20 percent less than top-selling brands White Claw and Truly Hard Seltzer.
Pabst Brewing Company also announced the release of an 8% ABV Pabst Blue Ribbon branded “Stronger Seltzer” in four markets: Arizona, California, Montana and Texas.
Meanwhile, Boston Beer Company rolled out a national advertising campaign featuring actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key for its Truly Hard Seltzer brand, the second-best selling hard seltzer brand.