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It's beer, it's lemonade, it's ... shandy! And it's coming to the US

\"Shandy\" - a beer and lemonade blend sometimes called \"radler\" - is set to take the U.S. by storm, according to new research
\"Shandy\" - a beer and lemonade blend sometimes called \"radler\" - is set to take the U.S. by storm, according to new researchPRNewswire via AP file

Fed up with beer? Feel too sleepy after drinking in the hot afternoon sun? Well, this may be the answer to your prayers as "shandy" - a beer and lemonade blend - is set to take the U.S. by storm, according to new research.

The number of global shandy product launches more than tripled between 2009 and 2012, according to research firm Datamonitor, and so far this year the number of product launches has already matched those for the whole of 2011.

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"With governments reducing allowable blood alcohol contents for driving under the influence, lower alcohol drinks seem destined to receive more attention," Tom Vierhile, director at Datamonitor said.

"2013 is shaping up as the 'summer of shandy'…while beer and lemon have been dance partners for decades, they have never had the marketing push and attention that they are currently enjoying."

Although widely consumed in Britain -- often as a way to get kids used to beer -- shandy's origins are believed to date back to Bavaria in 1922 when Franz Xavier Kugler stumbled onto the mixture after being inundated with thirsty cyclists at his home on a hot summer's day.

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Variations of shandy are common in many countries, where beer is watered down with lemonade or other non-alcoholic fruit drinks. The Beastie Boys even mentioned a beer-orange juice mix in their song "Brass Monkey."

Brewing giant SABMiller owns U.S. shandy stalwart Leinenkugel's through one of its subsidiaries. Its Summer Shandy brew is performing "particularly well" according to SABMiller's full-year report posted on May 23.

In Canada, Molson Coors Brewing is launching the new Rickard's Shandy, a 4.5 percent alcohol brew described as the perfect blend of premium lager and classic lemonade. Meanwhile, AB InBev introduced a 4.2 percent lemon shandy in 2012, adding to its popular Shock Top range which continues to see revenue growth.

And it's not only North America where brewers are adding new products, even established markets like Britain are set to have more choice on the supermarket shelf this summer.

Foster's Radler and Carlsberg's Citrus are two new British launches this season, with Carlsberg citing research in their press release that the "lower strength beer category" is growing at a rate of 50 percent, year on year.

In the 1980s, wine coolers, or spritzers -- wine mixed with fruit juices or flavored carbonated beverages -- were popular in the U.S. But sales dropped off after 1991 when the excise tax on wine was increased.