Hooper's Hooch (often simply referred to as Hooch) is an alcopop that was most popular during the mid-1990s. The name Hoopers refers to William Hooper, inventor of the hot water bottle and manufacturer of lemonade in the 1840s whose trademark was owned by Burton-on-Trent-based brewer Bass. Launched in Britain in 1995 by Bass as an alcoholic lemonade, it was initially very popular leading to the development of orange- and blackcurrant-flavoured versions.
At its peak, 2.5 million bottles of Hooper's Hooch were sold each week in Britain, and it was the market leader for alcopops with up to 70% of the market. However, alcopops became less popular, and the drink was discontinued in the UK in 2003, being reintroduced in 2012 in a lower alcohol formulation. The drink continued to be sold in the US by United States Beverage in Hard Lemonade, Hard Orange, Hard Berry and ICE (citrus) flavours.
Hooper's Hooch is mostly notable for being one of the first alcopops. Its success began an industry-wide trend of incorporating lighter, less calorific drinks with alcohol equal to the amount found in a standard beer or glass of wine. As a result products such as Bacardi Breezer and Mike's Hard Lemonade are, depending on location, commonly found in pubs and bars today.
The packaging for Hooper's Hooch was created by KLP Scotland, the marketing and packaging agency for the Bass Brewery.
At the time, along with other alcopops, the drink received criticism for encouraging underage drinking by appealing to children due to its sweet taste and use of cartoon-like advertising. With an ABV of 5.0% it was actually stronger than most lagers. In 1996 an advertising campaign for Hooch was criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for appealing to underage drinkers. In 1997 the drink was relaunched with an 'unambiguously adult look' and a reduced sugar content to tackle that criticism, while Co-Op Supermarkets, Iceland, J D Wetherspoon and Whitbread stopped selling alcopops.
Hooch was reintroduced to consumers in the UK in July 2012 following a nine-year absence, with the new marketing slogan "refreshment with bite!". Its bite, however had been reduced from its original nineties formulation with the new version having an ABV of 4.0%. It is sold in the UK by Global Brands Ltd and in Asia by Resolute International Marketing BV under licence from Hooch owner Molson Coors. In 2014, new adverts emerged on television featuring Keith Lemon (Leigh Francis) entering a bar and asking for "'ooch" in his trademark Northern accent, with the bartender unable to understand what he means.
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