While finding designer drinks on supermarket and convenience store shelves is by no means unique in today’s multi-billion dollar drinks industry, the newest fad in drinks seems to be taking advantage of the new “tea” craze with its touted antioxidant goodness. Sadly, I think that the usual sweetened bottled iced teas (whether it’s black, green or white teas) contain so much sugar that the sugar is practically canceling out the antioxidants.
While tea has been around for centuries and it is drunk like water in Asia, it has yet to become as popular in the United States. So…why not try to market tea as an alcoholic malt beverage!? Although I saw this a few months back at a local supermarket when I went back for a visit back to the U.S.A., this product was originally launched in 2006. “RAW TEA” made by Smirnoff (Diageo), is marketed towards the young, white, wealthy college crowd and comes in green tea flavour and black tea with lemon, peach or raspberry flavours. Every comment I have read about this product focuses on the advertising campaign and no one seemed to question whether some people may think that this malt beverage would somehow be thought of as healthier than say, a rum and coke. I guess in the eyes of marketing execs, what the difference between blending tea and alcohol versus blending juices and alcohol?
I decided to buy a six-pack of “RAW TEA” because I was very curious on what it would taste like. It costs around the same price as an imported pack of beer would and bought the lemon flavour to be “safe”. There was almost no taste of tea and it tasted like vodka mixed with sweet and sour but with some other much more sour flavour added as well. I didn’t finish that bottle and ended up throwing most of it down the drain. Who knows, perhaps the other flavours taste better. Regardless, from a foodie point-of-view, it seems like a marketing gimmick and a farce to market tea with alcohol. Who are they kidding? As if this product is actually healthier than the combination of alcohol and artificial fruit flavours such as in wine coolers? What’s next, alcoholic goji juice?