Another Caesar looks to reign supreme

Hail Caesar is bringing Asian flavour profiles to 450 LCBO locations, benefitting from an Aeroplan promo.

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Canada’s latest Caesar is hoping consumers lend it their ears.

Hail Caesar Korean BBQ is a twist on the iconic Canadian cocktail, adding flavours like shiitake mushrooms and BBQ spices. It is available in RTD format at 450 LCBO locations across the province.

“We wanted to bring the fun and sense of adventure to the Caesar market, to say an original Caesar is fine, but what else can we do?” says Ian Macdonald, co-founder of United Craft, which distributed Hail Caesar.

According to Macdonald, more consumers are seeking out diverse beverage options that are not a compromise on taste, calling the drink an “unconventional Caesar that is refreshing and packs a strength punch with 7.0% ABV in each can,” higher ABV than is typical for the category.

The product is included as part of the LCBO’s Summer Hot List, an in-store program that includes trendy and portable selections like RTDs, enticing customers with “shop and earn” messaging through Aeroplan.

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In June, Hail Caesar partnered with the LCBO putting product in stores at the cash end aisle as a potential impulse purchase. To help celebrate Canada Day, the brand gave shoppers the opportunity to redeem two free cans of Hail Caesar at through the Caddle mobile coupon app.

“The promotion went on, we redeemed a lot of cans, and that introduced the brand to a lot of people,” he says. “I think brand loyalty starts with the introduction of the product.”

Macdonald says that marked a key promotional opportunity, as did the retailer bringing back in-store tastings that had previously been off the table during the pandemic.

Hail Caesar will be doing its own Aeroplan promotion later in July and August to round out the marketing platform with the LCBO. Outside of the liquor store, Hail Caesar has tried to drive trial with golf course, festival and private event sampling.

To stand out to consumers, according to Macdonald, when it looked at the other packaging that is on shelf, for the most part it’s very similar and a sameness in terms of how the flavors are communicated.

“Almost every SKU incorporates some kind of photo of a Caesar in a glass,” he explains. “We felt if we were going to be bold and adventurous we would need to go against that grain to stand out in a different way, so more simplistic packaging design that still looks premium and quite bold.” The black and the red, he says, help create a contrast and when you hold it in your hand it does look like as stronger drink.

“We decided to go into a whole new direction, and if your brand is called Hail and you’re bold and adventurous, I feel like you have the creative license to do that.”

Macdonald tells strategy it always wanted to explore the category and knew it had to be different, especially as there are a lot of great products in the space. Up until recently, the most dominant brand owned 100% market share for half a century.

Last year, the Caesar space got a shake up when Walter Craft Caesar acknowledged the polarizing nature of the drink, aiming its marketing squarely at Caesar haters.

With files from Justin Crann