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High School Ragers Are Back, Baby: Sunny D Unveils Vodka Seltzer

by Bill McCool on 03/07/2023 | 2 Minute Read

In high school rager news, it looks as if Sunny D just dropped a hard seltzer.

Debuting this week, just mere days before Saint Patrick’s Day, Sunny D Vodka Seltzer is a 4.5% ABV adult beverage with that distinct Sunny D tang, i.e., “orange flavor.” There’s also a touch of real fruit juice, sparkling water, and a shot of vodka, making this a likely challenger as the official state beverage of Florida.

Does it look like Sunny D? You bet your purple stuff-hating ass there is! You’ll find the usual Sunny D logo on the cans with the traditional white background, indicating that this is the hardest of bubbly waters on the market. Also, similar to the kids-only version, you’ll find stippled orange specks around the base of the can as well as a band around the top clearly indicating that this “contains alcohol.”

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In terms of shocking beverage releases, a hard Sunny D seltzer barely registers. Coca-Cola and Jack Daniels have released an RTD canned cocktail, and there's even a more extreme Hard MTN Dew. Oh, and let’s not also forget Coca-Cola’s Fresca Mixed or Topo Chico Hard Seltzer. What it does say, however, is that nostalgia-driven beverage releases are a certifiable thing, though one time I went to one of those “drink what you drank in college and high school parties” in my early 30s, and I was thoroughly horrified. I’m not sure I can give this a thumbs up, as no part of me wants to relive playing Edward 40 Hands or putting Southern Comfort in anything. That said, beloved childhood favorites are making their way into adult beverage offerings, and brands like Sunny D are betting that your curiosity will get the better of you—Warheads Four Loko, anyone?


From all accounts, this has been in the works since 2020 when Sunny D owners Harvest Hill Beverage Company licensed the brand—and Juicy Juice and Daily’s Cocktails—to the Seltzer Licensing Group to expand its market reach and product portfolio, aka, let’s get some hooch into this orange-tinted high fructose corn syrup machine for the millennials, dammit.

"SunnyD is a powerful brand, the most boldly unique orange drink on the planet," shared Ilene Bergenfeld, Harvest Hill Beverage Company CMO, in a press release. "Consumers are passionate about this iconic brand, rooted in nostalgia but with a taste that resonates today. Many have told us that they enjoy SunnyD as a mixer and asked for this product. So, we looked at the hard seltzer category and thought, good, but we can do better. And SunnyD Vodka Seltzer was born."

Sunny D’s vodka seltzer will be available in select Walmarts starting March 11th. Drink responsibly, you sentimental fools.