On Shelf
On Shelf

#OnShelf: Beverages category sparkles

by Louise Burgers. New promotions and launches in the beverages category – from alcoholic to nutritional; while Castle Lite switches to renewable energy.

by Louise Burgers. New promotions and launches in the beverages category – from alcoholic to nutritional; while Castle Lite switches to renewable energy.

Flying Fish swims into Checkers Liquor

Flying Fish Hard Seltzer will now also be available in Checkers Liquor outlets, as the global hard seltzer category grows in South Africa. Seltzer, as it is known globally, is simply sparkling water; while hard seltzer is sparkling water blended with alcohol and fruit flavouring. Low in calories, carbs, and sugar, this new beverage trend brings versatility to the market. In 2013, Flying Fish created South Africa’s first flavoured beer and, in March this year launched its hard seltzer, available only in Pick n Pay stores nationwide. Flying Fish Seltzer is a 5% ALC/VOL drink in a premium 300ml slim can with two flavour varieties: Lemon and Lime, and Raspberry. With 1.5g sugar and less than 100 calories per can, Flying Fish Seltzer is a light and easy-drinking beverage with a fruity taste. Claudia Schmid, brand manager for Flying Fish Seltzer, says of the expansion into Checkers Liquor of the new Flying Fish Seltzer, “At SAB we are committed to continue innovating relentlessly to deliver quality. We are excited to be expanding into Checkers Liquor, making this growing brand accessible to even more South Africans”.

Elit Vodka awarded ‘Best Vodka of the Year’

Ultra-premium vodka Elit, now a 10 time platinum award winner of Beverage Testing Institute’s (BTI) coveted accolade, has won the title of Best Vodka of the Year in 2021. Elit, produced by the Stoli Group, was also rated ‘Superlative 97/100’ for the tenth time by BTI, a score unbeaten by any other vodka. The Superlative Platinum Medal confirms it as one of the highest-rated vodkas, setting a new benchmark for ultra-premium spirits globally. BTI’s testing process is highly competitive and rigorous. The panel of industry experts use their extensive professional experience, expertise, and palettes to test the aroma, flavour, and structure of the vodka. Their evaluation is compliant with BTI’s proprietary blind tasting methodology co-developed with Cornell University, and custom-built software. The ultra-premium vodka is created with the finest blend of spring and winter wheat, grown exclusively in the renowned fertile black soil of the brand’s single estate, Kerschinskoye, in Russia. The distilled spirit then travels to the famed Latvijas Balzams in Riga (Latvia), where it is blended with artesian well water. Following a quadruple filtration process, the spirit is frozen at -18°C. The Elit signature freeze-filtration process, inspired by ancient vodka making techniques, is what makes the brand a winner, distributor Firebrand Africa, believes.

Castle Lite switches to renewable electricity

The last week in South Africa has reinforced exactly why Castle Lite is switching to brew their extra cold refreshment with renewable electricity. Electricity supply constraints that result in frequent load shedding, means Castle Lite is switching to renewable electricity to brew their beer. With this switch, Africa’s largest premium lite beer, is on a journey to ensure that all seven of their breweries within South Africa use solar power, with Alrode brewery in Johannesburg also making use of bio-gas facilities. As of January – August this year the brand has already generated over 9.7GWh of renewable electricity. This switch has also resulted in 9 443 tons of Co2 emissions reductions since the start of the year. The brand intends to be 100% brewed with renewable electricity and to fully “switch to renewable” sources by 2025, ensuring that they use all options available to further reduce the load they take from the national grid. The move is directly in line with The South African Breweries (SAB) and holding company, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), globally committing to the 2025 Sustainability Goals in climate action by adding renewable electricity capacity to regional grids and reducing CO2 emissions across the globe. “Castle Lite is making the switch to brew with renewable electricity in order to ensure that making a difference is easier,” says Castle Lite rband director, Colleen Duvenage.

CAMPAIGN: Spar promotion featuring Mageu

While this non-alcoholic drink made from fermented mealie pap may go by many different names, Mageu (Setswana), Mahewu (Shona), Mahleu (Sesotho), Magau (Khoikhoi), Mahewu (Xhosa) or amaHewu (Zulu and Northern Ndebele), one thing remains the same – this traditional drink is a firm favourite in millions of South African homes. According to Bhavna Sanker, Spar brand promotions and advertising manager, Mageu’s unique, slightly sour taste comes from the lactic acid. She adds however that commercial versions of the drink are often flavoured, sweetened and contain vitamins and minerals. During October, customers could purchase two Mageu 1l products at a discounted price; and then donate a third to charity. In addition, Spar donated R1.50 for every carton sold during the campaign period to Operation Hunger.


Main image credit: Flying Fish.


Louise Burgers is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of RetailingAfrica.com. She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.


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