'Summer of Shandy' Coming to the US
Fed up with beer? Feel too sleepy after drinking in the hot afternoon sun? Well, this may be the answer to your prayers as "shandy" - a beer and lemonade blend sometimes called "radler" - is set to take the U.S. by storm, according to new research.
The number of global shandy product launches more than tripled between 2009 and 2012, according to research firm Datamonitor, and so far this year the number of product launches has already matched those for the whole of 2011.
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"With governments reducing allowable blood alcohol contents for driving under the influence, lower alcohol drinks seem destined to receive more attention," Tom Vierhile, director at Datamonitor said.
"2013 is shaping up as the 'summer of shandy'…while beer and lemon have been dance partners for decades, they have never had the marketing push and attention that they are currently enjoying."
Although widely consumed in the U.K. shandy's origins are believed to date back to Bavaria in 1922 when Franz Xavier Kugler stumbled onto the mixture after being inundated with thirsty cyclists at his home on a hot summer's day.
Brewing giant SABMiller owns U.S. shandy stalwart Leinenkugel's through one of its subsidiaries. It's Summer Shandy brew is performing "particularly well" according to SABMiller's full-year report posted on May 23.
In Canada, Molson Coors Brewing is launching the new Rickard's Shandy, a 4.5 percent alcohol brew described as the perfect blend of premium lager and classic lemonade. Meanwhile, AB InBev introduced a 4.2 percent lemon shandy in 2012, adding to its popular Shock Top range which continues to see revenue growth.
And it's not only North America where brewers are adding new products, even established markets like the U.K. are set to have more choice on the supermarket shelf this summer.
Foster's Radler and Carlsberg's Citrus are two new U.K. launches this season, with Carlsberg citing research in their press release that the "lower strength beer category" is growing at a rate of 50 percent, year on year.
—By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch; Follow him on Twitter @mattclinch81