Designed to be enjoyed in outdoor environments such as the beach, pool-side, picnics, and tailgating, BuzzBallz mixed-drink and wine-based cocktails come in a 200-mL, party ball-shaped PET bottle with an integrated aluminum lid designed to be “fun, floatable, and interesting,” says BuzzBallz LLC founder Merrilee Kick.
Kick says she created BuzzBallz to provide consumers with the opportunity to mix and match flavors, with a product that offered more alcohol than some others on the market (BuzzBallz is 15% to 20% alcohol, depending on variety).
“At the time I created these in 2009, most of the cocktails were sold as four- or six-packs. I wanted consumers to be able to buy them by the ball, and mix and match flavors that they liked,” she says. “I also wanted to have a high-quality product with more alcohol in it, because so many on the market are malt beverages packed with sugar, or simply don’t taste good. I wanted a fresh juice cocktail, with booze in it, and I didn’t want to have to get bloated to feel a little buzz.”
Since its first sale in 2010, the convenient, single-serve cocktail brand has basked in its irreverence, with product names such as Forbidden Apple, Stiff Lemonade, Limey Bastard, OJ Screamer, and Choc Tease, among others.
The unique ball-shaped PET bottle was created to be as colorful as it is functional. With an aluminum lid with tab that can withstand 95 psi, the bottle can be used for both carbonated and noncarbonated drinks, and can be frozen for a slushy cocktail treat. The container is also made of plastic, making it ideal for outdoor environments, and it is recyclable, in locations where recyclers have the technology to separate the aluminum lid from the plastic body.
According to Kick, the “PET can” design is not new: “It is used all over the world, mostly in Asia and Russia. I got the idea from a tennis can container,” she says. BuzzBallz has brought production of the PET can in-house with custom-engineered equipment. The packages are screen-printed in-house as well, allowing the company to modify batch dates for each production run and to change colors for new product varieties when necessary.
The PET portion of the container is colored to match the different cocktail flavors, with colorants created by Holland Colours Americas to meet specific requirements for high-alcohol applications. Kick says BuzzBallz chose Holland because “they were really excited about the brand and the packaging.” She adds, “They were instrumental in getting colors matched to what we wanted and also in training us on how to best use the PET.”
The BuzzBallz line currently includes 11 cocktail varieties made from 100% juices and vodka, rum, or tequila, and four flavors of Tropic Chillerz, made from 100% juices, orange wines, and 188-proof orange brandy. The single-serve drinks can be purchased “by the ball” around $2.99 per ball, or in 24-pack cases, in either single-flavor or rainbow cases, and are available in 32 states.
Says Kick, “Both retailers and consumers love the brand. We are rolling out the product in California, and we can’t keep it in stock!”