There is much more to alcohol beyond its boozy effects, and a recent trend highlights that approach. For several years, the alcohol-infused food movement has made its way through the culinary landscape. Everyone from ice cream brands to charcuterie board makers to frozen food manufacturers have jumped aboard and are seeing the benefits.
As our sister publication, Food Business News, reported in the fall of 2019, food and beverage formulators are trying to capture and apply some of the flavor profiles of beers, wines and spirits to non-alcoholic products. The booze is the star of the show in these items, and sweet flavor profiles in particular work well with the notes of alcohol.
That is especially the case with chocolate. Innovative chocolatiers such as François Payard and Jacques Torres have stepped up their game with boozy bonbons and other delectable delights. Payard’s Vanilla Rum Truffles used creamy dark chocolate flavored with rum and vanilla, encased in a thin, crunchy, cocoa-dusted shell. Torres’ Champagne Truffles, showcased on his website, feature a mouth-watering combination of milk chocolate, fresh cream and Taittinger Brut La Française Champagne.
Alcohol has long added something special to confectionery treats, and one company has witnessed strong sales thanks to its forward-thinking approach within the category.
Booze Hound is a curated artisan collection of boozy sweets and snacks featuring bourbon, beer and whiskey-infused flavors. This assortment includes everything from Craft Beer & Pretzel Caramels to Bourbon, White Russian & Irish Cream Fudge and more.
These products all have an upscale, sophisticated look and feel with a modern vintage and urban vibe. They have been featured at many retailers including Home Goods, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Sur La Table and more. They were first introduced by DesignPac, part of the 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. family of brands, which has experienced tremendous growth in recent years as online sales have become more popular.
“The Booze Hound collection is very popular among the cocktail and beer enthusiasts – and, anyone who really loves gourmet (and boozy flavor-infused) sweets,” he says. “Customers love the combination of alcohol flavors balanced with a gourmet confectionery taste – from Bourbon Nut Brittle to Stout Beer Truffles and more.”
What customers most find appealing about the brand is the unique flavor profiles paired with fudge, brittle, truffles and other textures. This was essential for the brand to differentiate itself from other alcohol-infused sweets manufacturers. Booze Hound’s distinctive combinations have proved to positively resonate with consumers.
“The collection was created to reach a new audience, while providing an exciting addition to our growing confectionery offerings,” Druckman says.
The brand was able to achieve its upscale look and modern vintage and urban vibe by working closely with its designers to develop packaging, distinctive chocolate names and a logo that conveyed this look and feel. Branding plays a huge role in product success, and the font and colors Booze Hound used helped to achieve the desired overall design aesthetic.
Branding can only take you so far though, and it’s the taste that has truly made Booze Hound stand out. While alcohol-infused chocolates might not appeal to everyone, Druckman points out that they satisfy a wide variety of consumers.
“The top-quality production of these chocolates has resulted in a sweet offering that appeals to even the most discerning tastes,” he says.
According to Druckman, two of the biggest sellers of this collection are the Dark Chocolate Bourbon Caramels with Smoked Salt and the Milk Chocolate Craft Beer & Pretzel Caramels with Sea Salt.
Innovation is paramount to the Booze Hound approach, as it continues to identify new opportunities to grow the brand and develop new flavors, while also helping customers express, connect and celebrate.
“We are continuing to monitor consumer and industry trends and listen to our customers – these will be the key factors as we continue to evolve the Booze Hound assortment,” Druckman says. “That said, we are excited about some of the opportunities ahead that we see for this distinctive brand.”