Jelly Belly has come out with a new beer-flavored jelly bean meant to emulate the “effervescent, clean, crisp and wheaty taste” of a German Hefeweizen ale.
The new flavour has unexpectedly polarised candy lovers. Thousands are thrilled by the new flavour, but a number of people are outraged by it, saying it will encourage kids to try alcohol and could even trigger a relapse for recovering alcoholics.
“I am so angry and disappointed about this decision,” Facebook user Mindy Chemaki wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “I have been a big fan of Jelly Belly since I was 13. And now you have developed a flavour that that may encourage minors (like I was 20+ years ago or my own children today) to develop a substance abuse problem. Just as bad, have you though about recovering alcoholics who are harmed by such an influence?”
Amy Mehalko added, “It’s just so wrong to have this flavour. Very disappointed. Why not just make a cigarette flavour while your at it.”
Several people said they would be boycotting the brand for introducing the new flavour, which is formally called “Draft Beer.”
“Kids will taste these beer jelly bellys [sic] and like the flavour and want the real thing,” Denise Evans wrote. “They won’t be tasting them in [my] house but teens are teens and will buy them.”
Another Facebook user wrote, “We don’t need that for our children. We aren’t going to buy any more. Just lost a lot of customers this way.”
Jelly Belly has been developing drink-inspired flavours since the late 1970s, according to Jeff Brown, Jelly Belly’s vice president of operations and distribution.
“We started with the Piña Colada and Mai Tai, and now we are very proud to add Draft Beer to that line,” Brown said in a video ad for the new flavour.
The Mai Tai flavour debuted in 1977. Jelly Belly has also developed and sold drink-inspired flavours like Blackberry Brandy, Strawberry Daiquiri, Piña Colada, Margarita, and Mojito.
Responding to the uproar over the Draft Beer flavour, Facebook user Ginger Smallin joked, “Those of you complaining that this is going to get kids hooked on beer should be thanking Jelly Belly. It’s certainly an improvement to the margaritas, daiquiris, piña coladas, and mai tais that Jelly Belly got your kids hooked on before.”
Here’s a video on how the new flavour was created:
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