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BuzzBallz Redefines How its Ready-to-Drink Cocktails Can Benefit Multiple Industries

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Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the foodservice industry is relying on ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages like BuzzBallz to give its customers consistent taste, convenience and a little buzz at home.
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The ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage category has risen 574% since 2018 and is expected to keep growing to $4.6 billion by 2024, according to research and data firm Nielsen. While it’s no easy feat for a brand in the fastest-growing alcohol segment to stand out among the competition, BuzzBallz has made an impact by consistently attracting new consumers and expanding its reach to become a household name.

“Our sales have been amazing,” Vice President of Marketing Tracy Frisbie says. “We were growing 50% last year and are growing at over 50% this year. Looking at Nielsen data, we see more and more consumers are discovering our brand.”

Merrilee Kick founded BuzzBallz in 2009 and expanded the company in 2015 to include a small craft spirit portfolio called Southern Champion. The woman-owned and family-operated Texas distillery, winery and brewery distributes to 45 states and is sold in 10 countries.

Made with 100% juice and premium ingredients, BuzzBallz’s packaging and distinct flavors are the attention-grabbers on the shelf. The cans are round like a ball with an aluminum pop top lid, making it quick and easy for the beverage to be consumed. The packaging is made out of PET plastic infused with Enso Restore, an enzyme that aids in breaking down plastics if they are deposited in a landfill.

The company’s mixology department has developed a number of cocktails over the years, but BuzzBallz maintains only 10 active flavors at a time. Popular flavors today include “Choc Tease” and “Tequila ‘Rita.” Each BuzzBallz cocktail contains 15% alcohol by volume, which is another characteristic the drink is known for.

“BuzzBallz is known for our flavors, high alcohol and taste, which is why our customers like it and become loyal,” Frisbie notes. In January, the company was awarded Most Innovative Food and Beverage Company in the north Texas region by D Innovates, a joint publication between the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce and D CEO magazine.

Defining its Place

BuzzBallz has historically sold well in grab-and-go retailers, such as convenience stores. When its customers purchase a BuzzBallz from this venue, they are looking for immediate consumption compared to those buying in the grocery store who are looking to stock up.

The company knows one of its customers in South Carolina recently purchased 30 BuzzBallz for a party because its customers submit their receipts to earn loyalty points as members of the BuzzClub. BuzzClub members earn points to use on BuzzBallz merchandise and the company gets an inside look into its customers’ shopping habits and what flavors they prefer.

While the hotel and foodservice channels were not previously a major focus for BuzzBallz, the company has begun expanding its presence in these two segments as consumer needs change. Located in the mini bars of the Marriott franchise, BuzzBallz provides guests with the option to have a cocktail rather than only beer or wine to grab and go back to their room.

BuzzBallz has been a novelty item in restaurants and bars over the years, but the company has shed new light on how its product can benefit the industry since the coronavirus pandemic. In the past, if a restaurant and bar had a sand volleyball pit in its backyard, BuzzBallz cocktails were sold from a cooler nearby. Today, the foodservice industry is relying on ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages like BuzzBallz to give its customers consistent taste, convenience and a little buzz at home.

Many states have relaxed their cocktails to-go laws as a result of COVID-19 and the foodservice industry is finding innovative ways to include the sale of alcohol with orders. “They are selling BuzzBallz so they don’t have to keep a bartender on staff when they are running a skeleton crew,” Frisbie explains. “Early on in the pandemic, you saw the owner or manager and one service person taking care of people. With BuzzBallz, they don’t have to mix the drink and it’s sealed so you don’t have to worry about it falling over during delivery or pick-up.”

BuzzBallz also provides consistency in terms of flavor and alcohol by volume. As a ready-to-drink option, consumers can shake and pour over ice as soon as they get home. “We have the ultimate solution for restaurants and bars at this particular time,” Frisbie says. “They are turning to BuzzBallz and ready-to-drink because it’s made things easier for them when things are impossible right now.”

Preparing for the Future

BuzzBallz is expanding its headquarters in Carrollton, Texas, to include a hospitality center and increase capacity to meet demand. The hospitality center will be available for tours and tastings when the pandemic is over, Frisbie says.

BuzzBallz’s upgraded facility will include an expanded production line complete with state-of-the-art automated machinery, tanks and stills. The company expects the line to be up and running in January.

“We are reinvesting in the business because of consumer demand,” Frisbie says.

Contact Salesinfo@Southern-Champion.com for more information.

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