In our previous articles, we have introduced that the milk tea, an outdated junk food, is making a comeback in Asia due to the emergence of new types of milk tea, such as HeyTea and NaiXue.
In the past two years, milk tea with real fruit cuts (very big ones) has been impressively popular among users, but it has also been out of fashion. Since last year, new milk tea brands began to renewal milk tea. This time, they tried to add wine to milk tea.
In early May 2020, drunken peach, a popular summer product from the Chinese milk tea giant, HeyTea, which was first launched in 2019, was re-launched . This pruduct chooses white peach juice as the base and uses a small amount of white rum, then adds smoothies, peach meat fragments, and specially modifies cassava balls for extra crisp taste. Another milk tea is called “drunken Litchi”, which is similar to “drunken Peach”. It just replaces peach with lychi.
Soon after, HeyTea launched another brand-new alcoholic milk tea, called Earl Bailey Sweet. This is a joint milk tea of HeyTea and Bailey Sweet, which is based on Earl Black Tea and Bailey Sweet, with vanilla cream lid and green root crispy fruit. According to the analysis of the person in charge of Bailey’s manufacturer Bacardi, “low alcoholic beverages can fill the gap in the coffee and tea market. On weekdays, 2-4 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. will be the peak consumption of low-alcohol beverages.”
In addition to the public menu, HeyTea also imitates the bar to set up an invisible menu. One of the hidden menus, known as the “Tea geek four Seasons package”, contains four kinds of tea and wine mixed drinks with Chinese characteristics. Specifically, “Spring does not return” (jasmine tea + white rum + lemon slices + mint leaves), “Summer will get drunk” (Golden jade tea + green plum wine + wine + balls), “late return in autumn” (golden orchid tea + tequila + pineapple juice + pepper), and “Winter sleepless” (early spring tea + Wuliangye + blueberries + strawberries).
These drinks do not appear on the menu, nor can they be purchased at any time. Consumers need to accurately say the drink’s name when ordering before it is possible to buy it.
HeyTea is not the only brand to add alcohol to milk tea. Its main competitor, Nai Xue’s Tea, also opened a bar in 2018 to experiment with upcoming drinks. Starbucks China also sold coffee and wine or coffee and tea mixed drinks at two Starbucks Zhenxuan stores in Beijing and Shanghai in 2019.
Lele Tea, another competitor of Hey Tea, has launched a milk tea called Le Xiaohei, which evolved from a milk tea made of peach juice, oolong, and cheese, with Jiang Xiaobai brand liquor added to it. According to reports, the special volatile aroma of Chinese liquor can make the smell of peaches more obvious.
Adding alcohol to snacks and desserts is not limited to milk tea. On June 1 this year, Chinese dairy brand Mengniu and liquor brand Jiang Xiaobai jointly launched an “adult’s ice cream”, bringing a gift to adults who want to celebrate International Children’s Day. The ice cream comes in two flavors, white peach, and caramel, both of which have a chocolate shell and a wine heart with an alcohol concentration of 0.7%. It is sold only in International Children’s Day’s pop-up store, as well as limited liquor from Jiang Xiaobai. One recommended way to eat is to insert a popsicle into a wine glass covered with white wine then eat it.
It is worth mentioning that although China prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors, the ban is generally not strictly enforced. For milk tea shops, there is no need to apply for an additional license to sell milk tea containing alcohol, and there is no need to check the guests’ actual age at the time of sale. This may be the reason why milk tea shops and dessert shops in China are more willing to sell this kind of products than other regions.