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Playboy enters ready-to-drink alcohol market with new vodka seltzer

Playboy is launching Play Hard vodka seltzer — a canned, low-calorie alcohol beverage. Playboy Spirits says its hoping to attract Millennial and Gen Z customers.

Playboy, the male-oriented lifestyle and entertainment brand, is branching into alcoholic beverages.

The Illinois-based company has announced that it’s launching a canned vodka seltzer line called Play Hard.

The colorful ready-to-drink line is starting with four flavors including mango dragon fruit, grapefruit yuzu, apple prickly pear and pineapple passion fruit, according to a press release.

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Play Hard is a joint venture between the PLBY Group’s Playboy Spirits, formed in 2022, and Spirits Investment Partners (SIP), a Chicago-based alcohol brand development company.

The two companies initially announced their partnership in January when the PLBY Group documented it had closed more than $13 million in funding to accelerate its growth in the alcohol beverage category.

"Playboy Spirits welcomes a new generation as we unveil the next chapter in hard seltzers with PLAY HARD — designed for those who seek great flavor, premium quality, and style," Marc Bushala, CEO of Playboy Spirits and SIP, said in a statement. 

"PLAY HARD seltzers captures Playboy’s legacy as a bon vivant lifestyle brand and modern spirit, inviting everyone to express themselves, live boldly and enjoy themselves," he continued. "PLAY HARD celebrates self-expression and a nod to those who like to play hard and have fun."

The Play Hard seltzers are a ready-to-drink beverage line that’s formulated to be low in calories.

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Each 12-ounce can reportedly contains 110 calories, 3 grams of carbs and 4.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), which is comparable to High Noon Hard Seltzer (4.5% ABV), owned by E. & J. Gallo Winery, and Truly Vodka Soda (5% ABV), owned by Boston Beer Co.

Playboy Spirits has branded Play Hard seltzer cans and packaging with a "Bunny Head" logo, which some may recognize from Andy Warhol’s famous 1989 pop-art painting.

"PLAY HARD marks Playboy Spirits' entry into the global ready-to-drink (RTD) market, connecting with Playboy’s fashion-forward Gen Z and Millennial following, and opening the vault to its expansive collection of original art," the company wrote in its product announcement.

The seltzer brand will debut at select retailers in Miami and Orlando in September and will expand to other markets throughout 2024. 

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Customers who don’t live in the state of Florida can order the drink online at playhardseltzer.com.

The PLBY Group, which is operated by the West Palm Beach private equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management, has expanded its business model since the revamp and shuttering of Playboy’s print magazine in 2020.

The publicly traded company relaunched Playboy magazine as a digital publication in March. 

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Prior to that, the PLBY Group launched a digital creator platform – Centerfold – in 2021 to compete with the content creator subscription service OnlyFans. 

The platform has since been relaunched under Playboy’s original name with a website and app component. Playboy reportedly distributes content to customers in approximately 180 countries, according to the PLBY Group.

Outside of spirits and digital media, the PLBY Group debuted its first owned-and-operated lingerie brand in November 2022, which is sold through the Playboy Shop e-commerce website.

In June 2021, the PLBY Group purchased the luxury lingerie brand Honey Birdette for $333 million, according to inside sources.

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The PLBY Group also purchased the online lingerie and apparel retailer Yandy.com in 2019 for an undisclosed sum, but the company parted ways with the website this year and sold it for $3 million, the PLBY Group announced on April 5.

In recent years, the PLBY Group has partnered with other fashion brands and celebrities on strategic licensing deals, including the 76-piece "Playboy Reloaded" capsule collection it collaborated on with MISSGUIDED, a fast fashion company.

The PLBY Group has also collaborated on a "Symbols of Prestige" capsule collection with October’s Very Own, a fashion line owned by Canadian rapper Drake, and a rock ‘n roll capsule collection with John Richmond, an Italian clothing line.

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"We continue to see great momentum behind our global strategic partnerships by having secured top talent and furthering brand collaborations to engage and expand our addressable market and drive brand relevance in target categories and regions," said Allison Kopcha, the PLBY Group’s chief business and licensing officer, in a statement from April 2022.

The PLBY Group’s refocus on lifestyle branding comes years after Playboy attempted to revive its hospitality business – the Playboy Club.The club opened in Midtown Manhattan in September 2018 and closed in November 2019.

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Playboy Clubs had been operated in dozens of American cities from the 1970s to 1980s.

The PLBY Group’s announcement of Play Hard seltzer comes nearly six years since Hugh Hefner, Playboy’s famous founder, died on Sept. 27, 2017, at the age of 91. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness/lifestyle

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