Do I Want What? Red Robin Offering Beer Cocktails This Summer
As summer heats up, national restaurant chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is looking to help customers cool off by combining two of the hottest trends in the alcohol space: cocktails and canned beer.
Red Robin has added what it calls "Can-Crafted Cocktails" to its seasonal menu. The beverages, offered in two varieties, are made with MillerCoors' Coors Light and Blue Moon beer.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, spirits have steadily expanded their market share in recent years, at the expense of beer. Spirits have gained 5.6 points of share since 2000, while beer's share has dropped to 48.8 percent from 55.5 percent.
One cocktail mixes Coors Light beer, ginger liqueur and lemonade topped with fresh squeezed lemon. The other is a blend of Blue Moon Belgian White beer, Svedka Clementine vodka, orange juice and fresh lime juice.
Presenting a beer cocktail would seem a natural extension for the restaurant group that made the beer milkshake famous.
(Read More: Beer Milkshakes—the Latest Weapon in the Burger Wars)
"Creating unique presentations and appeal is an integral part of food and beverage innovation at Red Robin," said Denny Marie Post, the company's senior vice president and chief menu and marketing officer.
In a nod to other trends, Red Robin is calling the libations "Can-Crafted" and serving them in reusable beer cans made of a sturdy aluminum. Company officials spent the last year working with MillerCoors to create a container that would look and feel like a real beer can.
"My vision ... was to craft a craveable adult beverage in a one-of-a-kind glass that would catch the eye and act as a conversation piece for our guests." said Donna Ruch, Red Robin's master mixologist.
In this case, the "glass" ended up being a replica of a can. The cocktail costs $4.99, and diners can buy the can for another $5.
Though once frowned upon, canned beer is growing in popularity, and more brewers are putting their product in cans. According to industry trade group the Beer Institute, canned beer made up 53 percent of the market last year, versus 48 percent in 2006.
(Read More: The Man Who Made Canned Craft Beer Cool)
By CNBC's Tom Rotunno. Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno.
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