Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, Jelly Belly released the world’s first beer-flavored jelly bean to go with Buffalo wings and nachos. But the new flavor, which does not contain alcohol, has many concerned parents angry, and brewing up a controversy for its maker.
Jelly Belly Candy Company announced its new beer flavor in mid-January, adding the product which was “a highly-requested flavor by consumers for decades” took years to get right.
“This took about three years to perfect,” Ambrose Lee, research and development manager, said in a statement. “The recipe includes top secret ingredients, but I can tell you it contains no alcohol.”
And it’s no generic beer flavor for the new jelly beans. The Fairfield, Calif.-based company decided to “pay homage to its German ancestry” and create a Hefeweizen-inspired ale flavor.
“Anyone who enjoys a good, cold beer will enjoy Draft Beer Jelly Belly beans for the simple fact that it tastes just as you’d imagine,” Rob Swaigen, vice president of marketing, said.
The beer-flavored candy, which debuted in San Francisco and Germany, is already being sold at specialty candy retailers in Chicago, Racked pointed out.
While many beer enthusiasts are excited to hear their favorite drink is now in the form of a candy, others are not enthused. There have already been a barrel—if you will—full of complaints directed to Jelly Belly on social media, since the candy is marketed to young children who are not of legal drinking age.
“Jelly Belly is no longer kid friendly and wants to introduce alcohol taste to children so they will want to experiment with the real thing. SHAME ON JELLY BELLY!” wrote Facebook user TheBlue Aero.
The Stir blog even wrote: “What's next, vodka tonic? Tequila shots? Crack? Not helping, candy company. NOT HELPING.” The writer, though, later pointed out it could be a good opportunity for parents to open conversations with their children about alcohol consumption.
Jelly Belly responded to the criticism in comments on Facebook to angry customers on Saturday.
“Hi everyone. We make about 130 flavors and there's a flavor for every taste and age. The joy of Jelly Belly is you get to pick your favorite flavors and avoid the ones you don't care for. Parents check out the kid favorites… This particular flavor is for adults, not for kids and this flavor is only sold as a single flavor, not in any mixes.”
However, since 1977, Jelly Belly has a product line of other alcoholic-inspired flavors, like Strawberry Daiquiri, Margarita, Piña Colada and Mai Tai, all of which do not contain any alcohol.
Tomi Holt, director of communications for Jelly Belly, told USA Today that these types of flavors are “marketed to adults” and not youth.