- Planters peanuts and IPA hops unite in a limited-edition peanut-flavored IPA — called Mr. IPA-Nut — that is the result of a collaboration between Kraft Heinz and the craft brewer Noon Whistle Brewery, according to a press release.
- The beer highlights a combination of bright citrus aroma from the IPA and a slightly salty finish from a hint of honey-roasted peanuts. “Mr. Peanut doesn’t want beer drinkers to be without the perfect salty snack, which is why he brought the iconic taste of Planters to an IPA, Ashley Tople, marketing director for Planters, said in the press release
- Four packs of 16-ounce cans of the beer are available from October 27 for a limited time in the Chicago area for $9.99, or at Noon Whistle Brewery's tap room.
For its first hop into the beer market, Kraft Heinz is teaming up with a relatively small craft brewer out of Illinois to tap into the growing hyper-local beer market.
Peanuts have been a mainstay snack at many bars for generations, so this combination is tried and true. Dark beer flavored with peanuts and peanut butter is popular as well, with many brewers featuring the combination. In the spirit of craft brew innovation, Noon Whistle Brewing owner Michael Condon said in a statement that he wanted to try something a little different to pique beer drinkers’ interest.
“It would have been easy to make a great Stout or Porter with nuts, but Planters wanted to prove that nuts go great with any style beer,” he said.
Although this is a new venture for Kraft Heinz, food flavors paired with craft brews are nothing new. Limited-edition craft beers have become a popular marketing ploy, mixing the iconic flavors and brand names with trendy adult beverages. In September, IHOP announced a collaboration with Keegan Ales to launch IHOPS Pumpkin Pancake Stout at select bars and festivals across the New York tri-state area. Shortly after, Dunkin’ Donuts released Dunkin' Coffee Porter in a collaboration with Harpoon.
This Planters peanut beer follows suit, angling toward the growing trend for nostalgia in snacks — a space where Planters peanuts fits in squarely. In fact, putting Mr. Peanut prominently on the can suggests that Kraft Heinz is relying on their iconic branding to draw in longtime fans of their products, hoping the taste and the company's relationship with a small craft brewer will keep them coming back.
Extending well known brands to other products is a key strategy for growth used by large CPG companies. Jennifer Frazier, senior vice president of Nielsen's Innovation practice, told Food Dive that it is smart for manufacturers to take advantage of equity they have built up in a well-known brand to try and extend its reach. Mr. IPA-Nut goes beyond the snack shelf, connecting with craft beer, a category known for being irreverent and experimental. And, if the trend of the new food-inspired beers continues, it might actually taste good.
However, the beer world is at a tumultuous point. Last year, total beer volume dropped 1.1%, the Beverage Information Group's 2018 Beer Handbook reported.
Still, there is a bit of a bright spot in small, independent craft breweries. According to the handbook, craft beer grew 4.9% last year, but Americans are simultaneously becoming more particular about their definition of “craft.” As big beer gobbles up successful independent breweries like Wicked Weed, Devils Backbone and Karbach Brewing, consumers are showing a tendency to shun them once they are no longer produced locally.
With a small independently-owned brewery as a partner, this collaboration may avoid backlash from craft brew purists. Whether they like to drink their snack as part of their beer may determine whether this collaboration stays around, or is simply a limited-edition novelty.