New York CNN —
SunnyD, the flavorful orange drink chugged from childhood by millennials, is embracing one of its more collegial cocktail combinations.
There’s now a vodka seltzer version of the drink that was created because of “popular demand,” the brand said. SunnyD Vodka Seltzer becomes the latest entrant into the canned cocktail craze that has customers thirsting for flavor-packed adult beverages over their malt-based seltzer siblings.
The vodka seltzer is 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, has 0 grams of sugar and only 95 calories. But there’s not actual SunnyD in the drink, rather the company said it has the “same great orange taste” as SunnyD that uses “real fruit juice and natural ingredients.”
SunnyD was first developed in 1963, but later boomed in popularity in the 1990s garnering it a loyal fan base because of its tangy orange flavor that is likened to a much sweeter tasting (and sugar packed) version of regular orange juice. SunnyD was sold to Harvest Hill Beverage Company in 2017, the privately owned manufacturer of Juicy Juice, with sales of the orange drink growing more than 30% since 2019.
“Consumers are passionate about this iconic brand, rooted in nostalgia but with a taste that resonates today,” said Ilene Bergenfeld, chief marketing officer of Harvest Hill, in a release. “Many have told us that they enjoy SunnyD as a mixer and asked for this product. So, we looked at the hard seltzer category, and thought, good, but we can do better.”
SunnyD Vodka Seltzer is sold in single cans for $1.99 and in a 4-pack of 12-ounce slim cans for $9.99. It hit shelves beginning Saturday at some Walmart stores.
Fruit juice-based drinks are growing in popularity in the alcohol industry. Simply Spiked recently expanded its lineup beyond lemonade to add a peach flavor, Bud Light Seltzer is using fruit juice for the first time in its new flavors and NÜTRL, a Anheuser-Busch brand, has seen sales of its vodka seltzer drink mixed with fruit juice, explode over the past year.
In total, sales of premixed cocktails grew 42% last year to $1.6 billion, according to Distilled Spirits Council of the US because drinkers are loving the new flavors and convenience they offer.