- Arby's is introducing two limited-run vodka flavors inspired by its curly and crinkle-cut fries, respectively, according to an announcement. That latter became a permanent menu fixture earlier this year.
- The Curly Fry Vodka and Crinkle Fry Vodka were distilled and bottled by Minnesota-based Tattersall Distilling Co. and will exclusively be distributed through Surdyk's Liquor, with orders placed via ArbysVodka.com, where the company has set up a countdown timer. The spirits, which retail for $60 a pop including shipping and handling, will release on Nov. 18, with a second drop planned for Nov. 22.
- To hype the rollout, the Inspire Brands-owned chain partnered with "Iron Chef" winner and "Fast Foodies" host Justin Sutherland to share two custom Bloody Mary recipes that pair the beverages with other menu offerings, including Horsey sauce, Arby's sauce and toppers like mozzarella sticks. Sutherland's tips will feature in videos shared on his and Arby's social channels in the coming days as the brand looks to stoke chatter about the unusual products.
Arby's is drawing a connection between the potatoes used in its fries and 80-proof, potato-based spirits with the creation of two new vodka flavors. The chain is well-known for selling curly fries, while the beverage play promotes the more recent addition of crinkle-cut as a permanent fixture while giving the chain a way to engage with fans via online orders and learn more about them. Arby's has expanded its menu to draw in new customers in a hyper-competitive fast food market.
Experimenting in spirits is clearly intended to get consumers and the media talking. A Twitter post teasing the drop features a poll that asks followers for their response to the vodka, with the options to answer "A: Yes," "B: Double shot of yes" and "C: Is this real?" Arby's is also supporting the move with social content curated by a celebrity chef. In offering DIY recipes, the marketer could get fans to order more of its food and share their concoctions online.
To get the concept off the ground, Arby's linked with Tattersall Distilling Co. on recipes that would accurately capture the flavor profiles of its fries. The Curly Fry Vodka is distilled using cayenne, paprika, onion and garlic, a "tribute to the mastery of crisp, spiced, curled potato," per the announcement. The Crinkle Fry Vodka is produced with kosher salt and sugar, honoring "the rich tradition of salted potato shapes." Bottles come emblazoned with fry designs as well as the Arby's logo.
Stunt products and merchandise have grown more common in marketing as brands seek fresh ways of generating earned media and PR in an era where consumers are increasingly averse to traditional ads. But outside-the-box partnerships can also gain surprising legs. Coffee giant Dunkin' for the past four years has crafted a fall beer lineup with Harpoon Brewery to herald the return of the season. Flavors on tap in 2021 include a Harpoon Dunkin' Blueberry Matcha IPA, Harpoon Dunkin' Maple Crème Blonde Ale and Harpoon Dunkin' Midnight American Porter.