A study in citrus: Summer launches showcase citrus sparkle

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Bud Light Lemon Tea
Bud Light Lemon Tea

Related tags Citrus

Citrus has always been a summer staple - but the category is evolving with exotic varieties and spicy combinations. As the warmer months approach in the northern hemisphere, we take a look at how citrus is springing onto shelves this year.

Lemon, orange and grapefruit are citrus stalwarts: but new exotic varieties such as pomelo, calamansi and yuzu are making a big impression in 2019, particularly in premium drinks. 

Bud Light citrus peels

Bud Light is expanding its citrus peels portfolio with a new Bud Light Lemon Tea (pictured above).

The new product is a light lager brewed with real lemon peels and aged over real black tea leaves to give the beer a ‘distinct flavor profile’.

“Bud Light Lemon Tea complements the already popular Bud Lime and last year's number one new beer innovation, Bud Light Orange which are also brewed with real lime and orange peels,”​ says the Anheuser-Busch brand.

Bud Light Lemon Tea is available across the US until September.

Punchy grapefruit lime and chilli

Punchy, a UK rum punch brand, has launched a pink grapefruit, lime and chilli tequila punch. 

The tequila punch comes in two varieties: one with a 4% ABV and an alcohol free version.

The drinks are vegan friendly, gluten-free and low in calories (129kcal per bottle and 52kcals respectively).

The sugar content is under 9.9g per bottle, coming in under the UK's sugar tax threshold.

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“We're breathing new life into a classic, while making sure everyone has the freedom to choose and still be involved whether they drink or don't,"​ says the brand. 

"Taking summer flavours that work together, and pushing them that bit further with some extra spice, we think we have got something really exciting.   

"The intense summer flavours are inspired by classic tequila-based cocktails, Paloma and Picante, and are made with all natural and authentic ingredients."

Yuzu vodka

EFFEN new flavors_600x562_0

Super-premium brand Effen Vodka has added yuzu citrus to its lineup: a drink that seeks to 'bring a dynamic taste profile' into the vodka category.

"Effen Yuzu Citrus was created to embody the subtle beauty of Yuzu, a Japanese fruit described as a flavor profile that resembles a combination of lemon and grapefruit,"​ explains the Beam Suntory brand. "Growing in popularity amongst chefs and mixologists for its aromatic flavor, this trend-forward innovation provides a sweet flavor with a citrus finish."

The drink can be served neat or with grapefruit club soda. It has been launched alongside another new flavor, Effen Rosé.

Lime and lemon boost for Sam Adams

sam adams#

US brewer Samuel ‘Sam’ Adams has rebrewed its seasonal favorite Summer Ale with ‘lighter and brighter’ flavors.

In 2019 it’s getting its first recipe refresh in 23 years, with additions of pureed oranges, limes and lemons: boosting the citrus profile and scaling back the earthier spice notes.

While acknowledging that changing a long-standing recipe is a risk, the Sam Adams brewers say the change will improve drinkability. 

Pepsi Lime 

pepsi citrus

PepsiCo has launched a ‘new fun and fruity flavor’, Pepsi Lime, for the US summer.

Launched alongside Pepsi Berry and Pepsi Mango, Pepsi Lime offers “an unique twist on cola … that is unparalleled in the marketplace, creating a refreshing way for people to cool off in the warm weather."

Pepsi Lime is made by adding ‘a splash of real fruit juice to cola, creating a bolder flavor experience’.

Cola Yuzu


Suntory Beverage & Food has launched its new Pepsi Japan Cola in Japan: a beverage that contains ingredients such as salt and Japanese citrus (yuzu).

The choice of flavors has been designed to ‘enhance the original taste of cola’ and ‘provide a Japan-original taste’.

The cola is available in two varieties: regular sugar and zero calories.

Corona Refresca

Corona Refresca - the first flavored malt beverage in the brand's 37 year history - is 'bringing a taste of the tropics' to the US market.

corona refresca

The 4.5% ABV premium alcohol-spiked refresher comes in three flavors: passionfruit lime; guava lime and coconut lime. Each drink contains 199 calories per 12 ounce serving. 

Corona is the top import beer brand family in the US, and hopes to build on its brand equity​ and 'tropical and carefree attitude' with the new line. 

Lemon water


Coca-Cola has launched its first sugar-free flavoured water under the brand “I LOHAS” in Japan this month.

The product contains only mineral water, lemon juice and lemon flavour extract.

I LOHAS is an acronym for lifestyles of health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2009, the brand has also created mineral water with aloe, tomato, peach, apple and pear flavors.

Orange Vanilla Coke


Coca-Cola has launched two orange flavor innovations in the US this year: Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar.

The flavors – which are the first Coca-Cola trademark flavor innovations in a decade in the country – seek to ‘bring back positive memories of carefree summer days’​ with nostalgic cues of creamy orange popsicles.

Coca-Cola has previously launched Coke Orange Vanilla in Canada last year as well as Coke Orange No Sugar in Australia.

Calamansi citrus


New York brand Brooklyn Crafted has launched a calamansi citrus drink this year.

Calamansi is a citrus fruit that originates from southeast Asia, a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin orange.

The drinks are being distributed locally in New York before being rolled out to national partners.  

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