Review: Sweet Crude
Covers Products: Mellow Mule, OG Tonic
Sweet Crude is a line of sparkling zero-proof cocktails that are enhanced with 20mg of CBD. The brand has launched with two flavors, OG Tonic and Mellow Mule, and both are packaged in 8.45 ounce cans.
The concept behind the brand is to merge two trends -- CBD enhanced beverages and non-alcoholic cocktails -- into one to create something that is truly a replacement for a cocktail. The products are self-described as “terpene forward” and utilize pineapple express (Mellow Mule) and lime OG terpenes (OG Tonic).
The two SKUs offer non-alcoholic interpretations of two mainstream cocktails: OG Tonic is a play on gin and tonic while Mellow Mule is a riff on a Moscow Mule.
Both work quite well in non-alcoholic form, although the OG Tonic is the more impressive of the two in terms of its resemblance to its alcoholic counterpart. Mellow Mule is pretty close, but the sweetness and spice is just a bit too strong. We’ll also give Sweet Crude credit for creating a “spirit” flavor that’s complex rather than one dimensional. We got both bitter and herbal notes and there’s even a slight burn to the finish.
Adding CBD to a non-alcoholic cocktail is a novel approach to adding functionality -- and perhaps perceived value -- back to a product that is devoid of its normal functional ingredient (alcohol). But it’s hard to say if the market is ready for this -- both CBD beverages and RTD cocktails are pretty nascent ideas.
On the packaging front, the product features a shrink sleeve label that has five uniquely colored bands that run around the circumference of the can. Each band, which is a different height, hosts a text element. The label copy includes the brand name, the SKU name, the tag line (“cruder than a virgin, but still 0% alcohol),” a callout for the 20mg of CBD, and a final band at the bottom that says “ready-to-sip CBD cocktail” and describes the terpenes.
While it does a fine job of communicating the product, we think that Sweet Crude needs to work on the overall visual appeal as well as striking a balance between the callouts for CBD and the for it being cocktail-inspired. Ideally, they should figure out a succinct way to say both of those things on one line of label copy. As it presently stands, we think Sweet Crude could be mistaken for just another sparkling CBD beverage.
Overall, Sweet Crude is both innovative and well-executed. With some refinement to the packaging (and perhaps expansion to the lineup with additional SKUs) we think it could be a player in the growing zero proof segment.