Close Menu

Sprinter aims to become top five spirit-based RTD

Kylie Jenner’s Sprinter is aiming to become a top-five spirit-based ready-to-drink (RTD) brand in the US over the next five years.

Sprinter-Kylie-Jenner-Vodka-Soda march
Sprinter is planning to release several new flavours next year

Mike Novy, president and chief operating officer of Sprinter and 818 Tequila, believes the canned vodka and soda brand could hit one million cases in “at least a year and a half”.

Novy has ambitions for the brand to reach three million cases in the next few years.

The goal of becoming one of the top five spirit-based RTD brands in the US is a “moving target” says Novy, but he hopes to “reach [top] five in five [years]”.

The RTD category in the US is dominated by the likes of Gallo’s vodka-based hard seltzer High Noon and White Claw (malt-based in the US), while emerging brands such as Surfside and Finnish Long Drink (backed by Jay-Z and Miles Teller) have reached the million-case milestone recently.

Kylie Jenner followed in the footsteps of her sister Kendall Jenner (founder of 818 Tequila) in entering the drinks sector earlier this year with the launch of RTD vodka and soda brand Sprinter.

Following its launch on 21 March, Sprinter has shipped more than 140,000 cases over four weeks. The brand is in 16,000 accounts across the US currently, Novy confirmed.

The company is working on another set of four flavours to complement its current pack of 355ml cans, which includes Black Cherry, Peach, Grapefruit, and Lime.

Novy said Sprinter would continue to operate in the “fruit-driven vodka sodas” space for the next few years, as opposed to moving into canned cocktails or other base spirits for its RTDs.

While he won’t reveal the next flavours, Novy was keen to stress that Sprinter’s founder is “deeply involved” in its selection. “[Kylie] has very firm opinions on what flavours or combinations of flavours we should do next.”

Sprinter is also looking into different can sizes to tap into the convenience trend. New products and new flavours are in the pipeline for the first quarter of next year, Novy confirms.

In terms of marketing the brand, Novy said Sprinter focuses on “getting the consumer to participate in the marketing of the brand”, adding that its buyers take to Instagram to post about their experience with Sprinter in the garden or on the beach. The brand is also able to leverage Jenner’s enormous follower base of 399m on Instagram.

Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner founded Sprinter in March 2024

Expansion ‘in motion’

California is, unsurprisingly, the biggest market for Sprinter, followed by Illinois, Florida and Texas. It is currently available in 44 states. The first priority is to “go deeper where we already exist,” said Novy. “Number two is to continue building out the states that we’ve already launched in.”

He says the “wheels are in motion” to expand into new markets or states. “We’re having discussions with potential partners in different parts of the world to try to assess the opportunity.”

In Australia, where 818 is sold via alcohol retailers Liquorland and First Choice, Novy says there is demand for Sprinter. “With our partner who sells 818 in Australia, they said they received the second-only request they’ve ever had in their business career, from the two major retailers in Australia asking for Sprinter, because of the relationship with 818.”

He also confirmed Sprinter is looking at both the UK and Canada for future market expansion. “We’re also talking to our partners in China and India,” he said.

When asked whether the sisters would consider working on a co-branded product, Novy said there have been conversations about collaborations between 818 and Sprinter.

“I think [Kylie and Kendall] would love to do something collaborative; the brands both sit in places where there’s a lot of similarity with the consumer base. So yes, that’s something that could be quite fun to do at the right time.”

For an in-depth look at the world’s biggest-selling RTD brands, check out The Brand Champions 2024 report.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No