Fast-Food and Alcohol Join Forces: Unveiling Unique Spirits Inspired by Family-Favorite ‘Comfort Food’ Brands
By Mallory Ambrose | August 24, 2023
Is the future of fast-food set to be alcoholic? Liquor and fast-food have always been curious bedfellows, and as numerous partnerships between chains and distillers continue to emerge and inspire new entrants into the previously unrelated industries, the fast booze landscape is certainly on the rise.
The growing appetite for adult beverages amongst consumers in the F&B industry has inspired popular ‘comfort food’ brands to venture into the realm of limited-edition spirits and RTDs. Drawing inspiration from fan-favorite signature flavors, industry renowned distilling companies have joined forces with fast-food chains to elevate their offerings, crafting one-of-a-kind, uniquely satisfying beverages.
Whether it be a go-to quick family meal, easy breakfast, or hangover cure — will the popularity of chain giant signature bites translate into beverage sales?
KFC & Dead Man’s Fingers – ’11 Herbed and Spiced Rum’
If you’re a fan of both rum and chicken, you’re in luck – Fast-food corporation Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has teamed up with Dead Man’s Fingers, a rum brand based in Cornwall, England, to create the fast-food chicken chain’s first ever spirit – a limited edition ‘11 Herbed and Spiced Rum’ inspired by KFC’s secret recipe blend of 11 herbs and spices.
KFC’s first venture into the realm of spirits blends Cornish flavors and notes of creamy caramel, vanilla and nutmeg found in Dead Man’s Fingers rum with KFC’s secret herb and spice blend. Though the KFC Colonel’s recipe remains a secret, the company has revealed that the elusive blend is quite balanced, including black and white pepper and captures the essence of the brand’s infamous golden breading.
Designed to be enjoyed with a splash of cola or even in a rum punch, the limited-edition 11 Herbed and Spiced Rum is now available for pre-order on Amazon and The Drop Store priced at US $32.
Eggo Waffles & Sugarlands Distilling Co. – ‘Eggo Brunch in a Jar Sippin’ Cream’
Eggo Waffles and Sugarlands Distilling Co. based in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, have partnered to introduce a new brunch-flavored liqueur.
Kellogg, the Chicago-based parent company for Eggo, reached out to Sugarlands for help in creating something to help parents embrace the small wins and “L’Eggo and enjoy that ‘treat yourself’ feeling brunch evokes, all year long.”
A long-time breakfast favorite, the new cream liqueur, called ‘Eggo Brunch in a Jar Appalachian Sippin’ Cream,’ combines classic brunch flavors of rich butter, toasted Eggo waffles, smoky bacon, and a drizzle of sweet maple syrup.
“Between the juggle of constantly changing schedules, household errands, family outings or busy workdays, it can often feel impossible for parents to find moments they can savor for themselves,” Joe Beauprez, senior director of marketing for Kellogg’s frozen foods said. “Eggo Brunch in a Jar makes it easy for parents to kick back when they’re not caring for their little ones. So, whether parents want to punch up a weekend brunch or savor some of those classic brunch flavors during their downtime, this feel-good Eggo-inspired liqueur is the perfect treat.”
This is the second time the two companies have partnered in the creation of an Eggo-inspired spirit. In 2022 they placed a unique twist on one of the most popular drinks of the holiday season with the ‘Eggo Nog Appalachian Sippin’ Cream.’
“Working with Eggo to bring Eggo Nog to life last year was a tremendous experience, so we’re thrilled to partner with them again,” Greg Eidam, master distiller at Sugarlands Distilling Co., added. “Eggo Brunch in a Jar is the perfect way to elevate weekend brunch with a fun cocktail or to enjoy classic brunch flavors during your well-deserved ‘me time’ in the evening.”
‘Eggo Brunch in a Jar Sippin’ Cream’ is available at select retailers throughout the U.S. and can be purchased online in some states. Visit Sugarlands’ Brunch in a Jar store finder to see where it’s available near you.
‘Dunkin’ Spiked’ Alcoholic Teas & Coffees
Dunkin’ has unleashed ‘Dunkin’ Spiked Iced Coffee and Iced Teas,’ a line of alcoholic coffees and teas. The release of spiked iced coffees and iced teas comes a year after Dunkin’ partnered with Harpoon Brewery to release three coffee-inspired beers.
With an ABV of 6%, the boozy coffee comes in four flavors: Original, Caramel, Mocha, and Vanilla. With an ABV of 5%, the tea comes in Slightly Sweet, Half & Half, Strawberry Dragonfruit, and Mango Pineapple flavors.
“This new line of ready-to-drink adult beverages elevates Dunkin’s offerings, and we know our 21+ fans will love every sip,” said Brian Gilbert, Vice President of Retail Business Development at Dunkin’.
Both the spiked iced coffees and spiked iced teas will be sold in 12-can mix packs, featuring three 12 oz. cans of each flavor. The Original Spiked Iced Coffee and Slightly Sweet Spiked Iced Tea varieties will also be available in a four-pack of 12 oz. cans, as well as in single 19.2 oz. cans.
You can now find ‘Dunkin’ Spiked Iced Teas’ in grocery and package stores, the ‘Dunkin’ Spiked Iced Coffees’ will debut in early September. These beverages will be available in retailers across Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont. Notably, the ‘Dunkin’ Spiked’ line of products will not be available at Dunkin’ restaurant locations.
Arby’s Smoked Bourbon and Lil’ Smoker
A meaty spin on a spirit that has long had a reputation for putting hair on your chest: Have you heard about Arby’s Smoked Bourbon?
In October 2022 Arby’s released ‘Arby’s Smoked Bourbon.’ The limited-edition bourbon whiskey is smoked with the same real woods — hickory, mesquite, and pecan — used to smoke Arby’s meats from Sadler’s Smokehouse in Texas, creating Arby’s signature flavor. ‘Arby’s Smoked Bourbon’ takes inspiration from their Smoked Brisket sandwich and their limited-time only, Country-Style Rib sandwich.
‘It takes hickory, mesquite, and pecan woods and 13 hours to smoke Arby’s Smokehouse Brisket. It takes 8 hours for Arby’s Country Style Pork Rib. But it took years for that same smoke to finally get Arby’s Smoked Bourbon ready for tasting.’
The resulting 90 proof spirit was produced by Brain Brew Custom Whiskey in Newtown, Ohio, by taking Arby’s smoked American oak, placing it in the bourbon, and then “WoodCraft” finishing it by heating and cooling the liquid to replicate the variation of temperature through the seasons.
Arby’s also released a limited-edition cocktail smoker called the ‘Lil’ Smoker’ that will smoke your drink of choice beneath the signature wide brown brim of the Arby’s hat.
Sadly, Arby’s Smoked Bourbon is only available to residents of California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington, DC.
‘Bojangles Hard Sweet Tea’
Bojangles’ sweet tea – officially called ‘Legendary Iced Tea Sweet’ – is a fan-favorite drink that consists of iced tea steeped and sweetened with real cane sugar. The boozy version delivers the same sweet tea taste fans know and love, but with an alcoholic twist.
The drink combines the brand’s knowledge of expertly steeped sweet tea and AMB’s award-winning brewing innovation. The result is an easy drinking, refreshing hard tea, sure to delight fans of both brands, ages 21 and older.
Consumers can find this in the Carolinas at stores such as Circle K, Sheetz, Harris Teeter, Walmart, and Food Lion, but it will not be offered within the chain’s restaurants.
White Castle and Evil Genius IPA – ‘Main Character Energy’
Philadelphia-based Evil Genius Beer Company and White Castle recently joined forces once again to create another limited-edition beer best served with the fast-food chain’s Sliders.
Evil Genius and White Castle partnered last year to produce ‘It Hits Different,’ a tangerine IPA. This month the two have released ‘Main Character Energy,’ a 6% ABV hazy kiwi dragon gruit IPA, a twist on the popular India Pale Ale beer style. The beer features both Simcoe and Strata hops that add a tropical fruit and zesty citrus character to the beer.
“Both Evil Genius and White Castle have long been innovators in their respective spaces,” says Trevor Hayward, co-founder, Evil Genius. “With the success of the first beer we knew we had to lean into our shared talent for creativity to up the ante and deliver a truly special product.”
“We are excited to celebrate another round of collaborating with our friends from Evil Genius – this bold, new and craveable brew will inspire the raising of glasses wherever it’s enjoyed,” says Lynn Blashford, White Castle chief marketing officer, White Castle.
‘Main Character Energy’ is now in stores throughout Evil Genius’ distribution footprint. The beer will come packaged in both cans for retail stores and kegs for bars and restaurants.