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How do you sell orange crushes in the winter?
Show consumers that you can sip them on the slopes.
That’s the approach being taken by Dewey Crush. The canned crush cocktail brand is seeing particular success on Instagram as it works to expand with a direct-to-consumer approach to ecommerce.
Andrew Rigney founded the brand to take the orange crush made famous at The Starboard in Dewey Beach, Delaware, into a ready-to-drink format. Now, Dewey Crush’s Instagram is showing that you don’t have to be at the beach to enjoy the crushed fruit refreshment.
“We try to create new and fresh content that can be used by our team to create compelling ads that speak to the Dewey lifestyle,” Rigney told The Current. “During the winter months, we show that summer is only a state of mind and can be enjoyed everywhere, at any time. We do this by focusing our branding around snow and winter sports. Our main creative partner is located in Colorado, so his location has been extremely beneficial in helping to deliver this narrative.”
Dewey Crush began selling the canned cocktails through its website about six months ago, with a third-party that enables sales and shipping. Made with vodka, lemon lime soda and freshly crushed juices, the drinks are available in four packs that include flavors such as orange, grapefruit, watermelon, lemon and Skinny Orange, which has 50% less calories and sugar than the original crush.
Andrew Rigney. (Courtesy photo)
Rigney’s story shows how ecommerce is enabling entrepreneurship, turning an interest in the food industry and a business idea into a full-fledged brand that is now growing beyond his home state to New Jersey, Virginia and Tennessee.
“Having grown up in Delaware, I spent every summer at the beach with friends and family. At an early age, I started working for my father in a grocery store and that’s when I really started to appreciate the food and beverage industry,” he said. “Several years later in 2020, I had this idea to create The Starboard’s iconic 'crush' cocktail in a ready to drink format, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Rigney started the business during the ecommerce boom of the pandemic, when at-home delivery and ready-to-drink became key trends propelling new alcoholic beverage brands. Even though bars are open once again, Rigney doesn’t see the underlying shifts in consumer behavior slowing down. According to Technavio, the ready-to-drink cocktail market is expected to grow by $748.7 million by 2027 at a CAGR of 12.42%.
“Over the last three years, the world has become much more digital,” Rigney said. “I think we will see ecommerce continue morphing as people’s likes and dislikes change in this area. One thing is for sure – people want things fast and convenient. There is nothing easier than ordering on the internet and then having someone deliver to you without getting off your couch. Speed will be the key.”
Trending in Brand News
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.