At a time when many national crafts are struggling, the Leinenkugel’s Shandy family keeps getting stronger.
As reported by Molson Coors earlier this week, the Leinie’s Shandy portfolio grew by mid-single digits during the first quarter.
Leading the way is Leinie’s Summer Shandy. Inspired by a classic German beer recipe mixing beer and Lemonade, Shandy was launched in in 2007. It quickly went from being a regional sensation to a national player.
Good Beer Hunting takes an in-depth look at the rise and rise of Shandy, including the creation of the recipe, the initial test and how it became a beer phenomenon:
According to Dick Leinenkugel, the first run of Summer Shandy sent 30,000 BBLs across 11 states in 2007. And people couldn’t get enough. In fact, 60,000 BBLs were made for 2008, but that still wasn’t sufficient. The seasonal brand broke the 100,000-BBLs mark in its third year of production. By 2010, when Summer Shandy went national in package and draft, all bets were off.
“The sales were just automatic,” says Jake Bettencourt, brand manager with Massachusetts’ Colonial Beverage Company, a distributor that serves the eastern part of the state, including Cape Cod, and has sold Leinenkugel beers since 2006. “It became a driving brand for our summer business.”
A key driver of Shandy’s success was its ability to attract people who typically drank wine or spirits, as the article notes.
And, inevitably, it attracted imitators. But despite the competition, nine out of every 10 shandy beers sold in the U.S. is a Leinie’s.
With new packaging and an updated seasonal variety pack that includes new flavor Watermelon Shandy and fan favorite Orange Shandy, the Shandy family is on track for a big year in 2017.
And Shandy isn’t the only big news for the Chippewa Falls, Wis.-based Jacob Leinenekugel Brewing Company, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary (and German roots) with a collaboration beer with Hofbräu München.
Leinenkugel’s was acquired by Miller Brewing Company in 1988, and a sixth generation of family members is now involved in brewing and selling Leinie’s beers.