Can a chart-topping album save a struggling beverage industry?

Beyonce lemonadeHBOBeyoncé starred in her visual album, ‘Lemonade’

The lemonade industry appears to be having a sudden boost in sales following the release of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.”
After the visual album dropped in April, “Lemonade” was everywhere, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart and every track making the Billboard Hot 100. Now, some lemonade industry insiders and analysts believe the album’s power goes beyond the music industry.

“Obviously when the album came out, it was very popular,” Natalie Sexton, marketing director and namesake of family-owned Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice, told Business Insider. “We looked at our sales just for fun — we were like, there is no way that this affected us, but why not?”

To her surprise, in the two weeks since Beyoncé released “Lemonade,” lemonade sales had doubled at the company.

Natalie's Orchid Island JuiceNatalie’s Orchid Island JuiceNatalie’s Strawberry Lemonade

Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice wasn’t alone. While Coca-Cola, the parent company of Minute Maid and Simply Lemonade told Business Insider it did not have updated data figures since “Lemonade” dropped, the Huffington Post reports that Uncle Matt’s Juice saw lemonade sales increase 20% after the album’s release.

Apparently, “Lemonade’s” complete takeover of pop culture means that people are thinking about the drink more than they have in years.

“When it comes to Beyoncé, nothing is off the table,” Crystal Spence, senior consultant at Vivaldi Partners Group told Business Insider. “Her following is unique to this generation.”

Following the release of “Lemonade” on HBO and Tidal on April 23, use of the “lemonade” hashtag, as well as the lemon emoji, exploded online. According to Twitter, the lemon emoji was tweeted more than two million times in April, with 62% of the tweets sent after the visual album’s premiere.

Looking at Google Trends, the word’s explosion in popularity is immediately obvious — though, of course, it’s safe to assume the vast majority of these people were looking for information on the album, not the beverage. 

A number Beyoncé fans posted photos of themselves drinking lemonade on social media to celebrate the album’s release.

According to an Instagram posted by Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Lawson, even the star herself celebrated the premier with a cold glass of the beverage.

Sexton admits that the lemonade sales surge may not be purely due to Beyoncé’s influence.

“Obviously, it could be maybe because summer is coming, and people drink lemonade more in the summer, but it is kind of coincidental,” says Sexton.

But it wouldn’t be the first time the superstar has helped sales in the food and beverage business. Red Lobster’s sales soared 33% the day after Beyoncé released a new song, “Formation,” with a reference to the chain.

“We’re calling it the Beyoncé bounce,” Erica Ettori, a Red Lobster spokeswoman, told Business Insider in February.

And, the phenomenon of pop culture impacting the beverage industry is a common one.

“We have seen pop culture influence sales countless times in the past — especially in the hip- hop community,” says Spence. “The trend has been especially popular in the beverage category as it relates to alcohol — from VitaminWater for 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake’s tequila brand, to David Beckham’s whiskey.”

The lemonade industry could use a boost, be it Beyoncé-inspired or not.

Lemonade sales are down 24% in the last decade, at 451 million litres in 2015 compared to 592 million litres in 2004. While Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice says it has seen a steady rise in its lemonade business in recent years, the industry as a whole could use a saviour.

Sexon believes that saviour very well could be Beyoncé.

“I think it will go for another month or two for sure. After two months, it may die off, just like any other trend, but it’s perfect [timing],” Sexon says of the Beyoncé-inspired sales boost. “She named her album ‘Lemonade’ right as summer is about to hit, when lemonade is the primary drink you’re drinking in the summertime.”

However, Beyoncé may prefer that fans sip on a beverage other than lemonade in the coming months.

The star announced earlier this week she had invested in a three-year-old startup that sells cold-pressed watermelon juice called WTRMLN WTR.

“Celebrity branding has always been a wildly successful strategy,” says Spence. “The celebrity investor is the next version of the same concept as we see a lot of celebrities moving from simply endorsing products by lending their name, or face, and actually fronting up their own cash.”

This summer, Beyoncé is poised to be one of the biggest influencers in the beverage industry — whether that be due to her sway over lemonade or watermelon juice.

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