Most Americans are familiar with the Shirley Temple, a sweet, grenadine and lemon-lime soda concoction that was originally created in 1932 for the curly-haired actress of the same name. Much like its namesake, this drink quickly found its way into America’s heart –– and not long after, a 21+ version, dubbed the “Dirty” Shirley, was born by adding vodka to the mix.
90 years later, the dirty shirley has recently burst back into the bar scene. Named “the drink of the summer” by critics at The Washington Post, Business Insider, and Southern Living, many consumers have been recently reacquainted with this nostalgic drink. While a traditional dirty shirley can be inconvenient to mix, share, and take on-the-go, Country Luau, a leader in premium canned cocktails, canned the same taste with half the calories and sugar in their version of the famed Dirty Shirley. Like all of Country Luau’s products, 2% of profits will go towards helping musicians.
“With this new release of Dirty Shirley, we are capitalizing on an opportunity based on existing consumer behavior,” said Adam Kost, founder and CEO of Country Luau Spirits. “Across the nation, the cocktail is gaining traction, but no convenient, health-conscious option existed until now.”
Unlike some hard seltzers and other canned cocktails, Dirty Shirley has no artificial flavors or additives. It’s a sessionable 5.5% alc/vol cocktail made with only four ingredients: 11x distilled vodka, organic cherry juice, natural flavors, and pure sparkling water. This modern twist on the original recipe allows each can of Dirty Shirley to deliver the same familiar taste without the caloric high-fructose corn syrup found in grenadine.
“With Dirty Shirley, we’ve solved the problem that keeps consumers away from the original drink –– its high calories and sugar,” said Adam Kost. “With our recipe, we’ve reduced the calories of a typical Dirty Shirley by 50% and created a lower calorie, modestly sweet Dirty Shirley that still has the same familiar flavor.”
Dirty Shirley’s unique packaging design makes it stand out on store shelves and pays homage to the history of the drink. Inspired by classic Americana, the retro-style red lettering makes Dirty Shirley hard to miss. The small cherry decal and “tasty since 1932” phrase further add to the vintage look, tying the packaging to the nostalgic taste of the drink.
“With so many people reconnecting this holiday season, it felt like the perfect time to share something nostalgic,” said Adam Kost. “Shirley Temples bring back a lot of good memories for people, and our Dirty Shirley was crafted to remind them of those meaningful moments.”
When it comes to crafting premium cocktails like Dirty Shirley, Country Luau has it down. All four of Country Luau’s other canned cocktails are made with only spirits, natural flavors, and sparkling water, with flavors like Yuzu Ranch Water, Strawberry Daq-Shack, Mango Mosa, and Pineapple Jalapen-Y’all. And with names like those, Dirty Shirley fits right in with the creative character of the brand.
Country Luau has a larger mission than just creating delicious craft canned cocktails, though. Because it was founded between Nashville and Austin, the music capitals of the U.S., helping the music community thrive is an important part of Country Luau’s brand. To ensure the company is purpose-driven, Country Luau created Mixed for Music™ –– a grant program that donates 2% of the company’s profits to support the careers of aspiring professional musicians. Applications are open year-round, and recipients are encouraged to use the funds for things like equipment, transportation, and studio time.
Four-packs of Dirty Shirley will be available in bars, restaurants, and independent liquor stores across Tennessee in November, and will launch online in 32 states soon after, with plans to expand in-store to Texas, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina in 2023. For more information about Dirty Shirley, visit countryluau.com/dirtyshirley.