‘Hooch’ legacy hits Bass US alcopops launch

The legacy of gangster Al Capone is causing problems for British brewer Bass in its a attempt to launch Hooper’s Hooch alcoholic lemon drink in the US.

US consumers associate the word hooch with the illegal whisky made during the Prohibition period – the moonshine which brought Capone riches as a bootlegger.

“‘Hooch is a slang term in the UK for alcohol, while in the US there is a residual and latent understanding that it came out of Prohibition,” says Andy Glaser, Bass’s US marketing manager.

Glaser says the company is considering printing an explanation of the name on the drink’s packaging.

Bass is testing Hooper’s Hooch in Miami and San Diego in the US and is hoping to emulate the success of alcopops (alcoholic soft drinks) in the UK. The alcopops market is worth up to 200m in the UK, less than a year after Hooper’s Hooch became the first drink of this type to be launched here.

Bass intends to follow the same strategy in the US as it did in the UK, and will market Hooper’s Hooch as a new category of drink which is an alternative to beer.

Cover Story, page 44

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