Perhaps you\u2019ve already seen the news: In what seems to be the perfect setup for a sequel to this Saturday Night Live parody commercial starring Casey Affleck, the donut chain Dunkin\u2019 has announced a line of alcoholic coffees and teas, which are now available in a dozen states.\n\n\n\nThe Dunkin\u2019 Spiked offerings are lightly carbonated, include a moderate amount of booze and a small amount of caffeine. They include several varieties of iced tea and iced coffee, in flavors inspired by the franchise\u2019s popular non-alcoholic offerings. The Spiked line appears to be a play to get the Dunkin\u2019 brand, which is predominantly associated with morning routines, into spaces where alcohol is more socially acceptable.\n\n\n\nPerhaps buoyed by the success of hard seltzers and other ready-to-drink (RTD) offerings, Dunkin\u2019 joins a slew of other non-boozy brands looking to expand into boozier territory. This includes Mtn Dew, Lipton Tea, Arizona Tea, Sunny D and Monster Energy.\n\n\n\nBut will Dunkin\u2019 fans actually convert to Spiked drinkers? Those watching the space have reason to think so. Certainly, Dunkin\u2019 is betting on it.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nYou May Also Like: Meet the Espresso Tonic, the NA Answer to the Espresso Martini\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\u201cThere has been an evolution where non-alcoholic companies aren\u2019t as afraid as they once were, from a public relations perspective, to try this route,\u201d says Jeff Musial, a partner at Brand Elixir Partnerships, by way of explanation. "Barriers have been removed.\u201d\n\n\n\nIn the 1980s, Musial worked at Brown-Forman Beverage Co.\u2014the makers of Jack Daniels\u2014and recalls that the Coca-Cola Company was wary of being associated with the Jack and Coke cocktail in any way, shape or form. That\u2019s a big change from today: Recently Coca-Cola announced the creation of a subsidiary called Red Tree Beverages, which is tasked with growing Coca-Cola's alcohol business and partnerships. (It\u2019s separate from the company\u2019s non-alcoholic business, so as not to confuse government regulators.) Meanwhile, Topo Chico\u2014another Coca-Cola product\u2014now exists in hard seltzer form thanks to a partnership with MolsonCoors.\n\n\n\nImage Courtesy of Dunkin' Spiked \n\n\n\nThese days, \u201cany opportunity to grow beyond a non-alcohol occasion, companies with a strong brand name can apply that,\u201d Musial offers by way of explanation. Plus, for non-alcohol brands, meaningful growth can be hard to come by, even with line extensions. Going the alcohol route has the potential to move the needle and find \u201cnew drinkers who haven\u2019t consumed you before.\u201d\n\n\n\nDunkin\u2019 Spiked Coffee is meant to be a late-afternoon beverage, says Nathaniel Davis, the president of Mass Bay Brewing Company, which is producing the beverages. Mass Bay Brewing Company is the parent company of breweries like Harpoon, Clown Shoes and others.\n\n\n\n\u201cThese tend to be thought of as a tailgating [product], a pick-me-up in the afternoon,\u201d Davis says. Like cold brew, the coffees are "a late-afternoon play.\u201d The teas, he says, are aimed at wherever refreshment is needed and \u201cplays where beer plays.\u201d\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nYou May Also Like: The Best Canned Ranch Waters, According to Drinks Experts\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nDespite its central role in the products\u2019 production, Mass Bay Brewing Co. is low-key about its involvement, which is a departure from the co-branded beers Harpoon and Dunkin\u2019 first released a few years ago and continue to produce. These include a pumpkin spiced latte ale, a blueberry matcha IPA, a maple cr\u00e8me blonde ale and a porter. Each is made with either tea, coffee or donuts from Dunkin\u2019, but are firmly in the beer space. The Dunkin\u2019 Spiked drinks, however, are decidedly not beer\u2014they\u2019re malt beverages. Though produced at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston and on offer at the on-site taproom, they\u2019re not designed to evoke thoughts of the brewery. \u201cSpiked is really a separate franchise and brand,\u201d explains Davis.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe\u2019re playing down Harpoon on the package and with the public,\u201d he continues. \u201cIt\u2019s under the division of the American Spiked Beverage Company.\u201d Officials from Dunkin\u2019 declined several interview requests.\n\n\n\nThe tea-flavored Dunkin\u2019 Spiked offerings dovetail with trends in the hard iced tea category, which is going through a bit of a renaissance. For years, Twisted Tea, the beverage made by Boston Beer Company, has ruled the category with few challengers. But recently, other companies and breweries have gotten into the space, from craft outfits like Great Lakes Brewery and Cape May Brewing to bigger brands like Arizona, Sonic and Lipton.\n\n\n\nImage Courtesy of Dunkin' Spiked \n\n\n\nDunkin\u2019 hard iced teas will come in the flavors slightly sweet, half & half, strawberry dragon fruit and mango pineapple. All are 5% abv and will be available year-round in 12-ounce cans and in mix packs. The slightly sweet variety will also be available in its own 12-ounce six-pack and 19.2-ounce cans.\n\n\n\nDunkin\u2019 may have a harder time in the hard coffee space, which has proved a tough nut to crack. Over the last several years, there have been splashy entries to the category, including a La Colombe collaboration with MolsonCoors and another made by Pabst. Both were pulled from shelves in the last year over lackluster consumer response.\n\n\n\nPerhaps Dunkin\u2019 will have better success thanks to its brand recognition. But because it can\u2019t sell hard beverages in its shops or alongside its other ready-to-drink beverages, only time will tell if consumer interest outlasts the products\u2019 initial buzz.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nYou May Also Like: The 9 Best Hard Iced Teas to Crack Open This Year\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe Spiked coffee offerings come in original, caramel, mocha and caramel flavors and are 6% abv. Like the spiked teas, they are available in a 12-ounce mix pack and the original is available as its own six-pack and in a 19.2-ounce can.\n\n\n\nAt the end of the day, the elbowing-in of Dunkin\u2019 and other non-alcoholic brands into the alcohol space is part of a natural evolution in drinks that happens every five to seven years, as consumer tastes change.\n\n\n\nThink about the rise of flavored alcohol beverages in the 1980s and 90s, like wine coolers. Then came mixers like Smirnoff Ice and the category ultimately evolved to include hard seltzer, which has been \u201cking of the hill\u201d in recent years. Musial thinks offerings like Dunkin\u2019 Spiked will only become more common.\n\n\n\n"It might be the next wave,\u201d he says.