USA: Craft Brew Alliance launches standalone business unit

Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), according to its own statements fifth largest craft brewing company in the United States, has launched a new business unit to explore trends in the drinks market and develop innovative products. The new standalone business unit, called the pH Experiment, is the evolution of CBA’s Innovation team and their pH Experiment beverage initiative, which launched in 2018 as a litmus test to explore opportunities outside of beer, as well as recent consumer research projects with the Yale Center for Customer Insights and global consultancy Prophet

CBA will add new resources to support product testing and market launches and is targeting with the pH Experiment USD25 million in revenue by 2025.

The first new product, Pre Aperitivo Spritz will launch in spring. Developed by CBA Innovation Brewmaster Thomas Bleigh, Pre Aperitivo Spritz is a 6.6% ABV dry, botanical bubbly with an herbaceous bitterness that stays unapologetically true to a classic Italian aperitivo. Available in 12 oz. six-pack cans and clear bottles, Pre is naturally gluten free with only one gram of sugar.

“During focus groups with drinkers, ‘Aperol Spritz’ was named as a favorite summer beverage, ranking #2 behind only beer, so we knew there was an opportunity to do something unique,” said Bleigh. “With Pre, I created an infusion of herbs and spices that I believe really deliver on a classic aperitivo experience.”

CBA follows the example of its 32.2percent-owner AB InBev, which targets new customers in its Beyond Beer Division with products like the new beer and cocktail machine Drinkworks Home Bar (, 15.11.2018), or other innovative products from its recent acquisition in Cutwater Spirits (, 20.2.2019), Babe Rose (, 13.3.2018) HiBall (, 24.7.2017) and Spiked Seltzer (, 13.9.2016).

“What’s particularly exciting about the pH Experiment is that we’re mining a vast trove of recently acquired consumer insights and tapping into the strength of CBA’s infrastructure to anticipate and quickly deliver on emerging needs,” said Andy Thomas, CEO of CBA in a press release on Tuesday. “With the pH Experiment, we now have the vehicle to unleash our innovation engine and create relevant new products and experiences for today’s drinkers, as we continue focusing on increasing topline growth and shareholder value.”

“Our goal is to provide long-term, sustainable growth for CBA,” said Karmen Olson, General Manager of the pH Experiment. “We’ll do that by combining the spirit and agility of an innovation startup with the muscle of a large craft brewer, working side by side with drinkers, retailers and wholesalers to quickly get products to market, listen to feedback, iterate, and either expand or fail fast.”

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