One of the latest trends in the frozen dispensed beverage segment is spiked slushies.
Spiked or alcoholic slushies can be beer-based or made using hard alcohol like rum or vodka. The alcoholic slushie trend started to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic amid lockdowns. As on-premise establishments like restaurants and bars closed, customers turned to convenience stores for ready-to-drink cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to drink at home. More retailers began adding alcoholic slushies to their menus to meet the increased customer demand.
Spiked slushies aren’t just a summer treat either. Retailers are using seasonal flavors to keep their slushies trending all year.
For example, York, Pa.-based Rutter’s offers spiked slushies at its convenience stores year-round. This fall, Rutter’s partnered with Steel Reserve to bring “Spooky Berry” Spiked Slushies to customers throughout October, and this winter it’s featuring Frozen Hot Chocolate Spiked Slushies with 8% alcohol by volume (ABV).
GetGo Café + Market is another c-store chain enticing customers with spiked slushies, which it launched in late 2019 at 46 locations across Pennsylvania and Ohio. The c-stores featuring the spiked slushies offer two to six flavor options that include both every day and limited-time-only flavors. They are available in 20-ounce and 32-ounce cups and a 64-ounce Party Bag.
To promote its spiked slushies, GetGo partnered with four Pittsburgh-area artists in spring of 2021 on original design options for its new spiked slushies cup design and asked customers to vote on their favorite design, which was then featured on cups over the summer.
Convenience stores interested in offering spiked slushies should start by checking the liquor laws in their regions to determine whether spiked slushies are allowed in their area.
Then, you may need to keep the alcoholic slushies in a different area rather than within your regular frozen dispensed beverage section, and of course, you’ll need to check IDs to ensure customers are legally able to buy alcohol. Rutter’s noted that customers seeking spiked slushies must order at the register (pictured left). GetGo keeps their spiked slushies behind the service counter as well.
“To ensure that no one under age can access an alcoholic beverage, we have the spiked slushies separate from all other frozen beverages behind the customer service counter,” noted Jon Cox, vice president & chief merchant, GetGo Café+Market. “The team member must pour the beverage after they have carded and verified the age of the guest.”