Drinking

Why Hard Seltzers are the Next Biggest Trend

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Light beer?  No thanks. Hard seltzers have climbed the ladder to become the top refreshing alcoholic beverage. From BBQs to pool days, you’ll be hard-pressed to not find someone sipping on an ice-cold hard seltzer. 

Hard seltzer is currently a $550 million business that is projected to continue to grow in the coming years. All of this meteoric growth can be attributed to the brand at the top right now: White Claw. White Claw has become the synonymous brand associated with hard seltzers, and combined with competitor Truly, the two make up 85 % of the market. 

Mark Anthony Brands, the company that owns White Claw, has been manufacturing Mike’s Hard Lemonades since the 90s. Hard seltzers are nothing new, so what’s all the buzz about? The trend could be attributed to the fact that hard seltzer, when compared to other options, has a much lighter profile when it comes to calories and sugar. They also pack a comparable punch in terms of alcohol by volume, with most containing around 4 – 6%, comparable to a light beer. For the health-conscious individual, hard seltzers make for an attractive option.

This trend has not gone unnoticed with the major beer companies either, with many having at least one variety of hard seltzer on the market. The sharp increase in popularity has driven a decline in market share for traditional light beer, and major beer companies are scrambling to adapt.  This includes Anheuser-Busch acquiring Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer back in 2016, MillerCoors selling Henry’s Hard Sparkling, and the Boston Beer Company selling the wildly popular Truly Spiked & Sparkling brand. 

Other companies to join the hard seltzer foray include Natural Light, Bud Light, and Corona. Perhaps one that is sure to turn eyes is Four Loko’s Stronger Seltzer, containing a staggering 14 % ABV, easily making it the strongest on the market. 

What differentiates the hard seltzer trend from other alcohol trends of the past is that it is developing into its own kind of culture. Hard seltzers beverages have grown into a strange type of societal movement, bringing with it a cavalcade of memes, videos, and even catchphrases. Drawing from the most popular brand right now, White Claw, catchphrases like “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws,” or “It’s Claw o’clock,” are commonly joked among the younger crowd and can be found on countless posts throughout social media. 

The rise of hard seltzer has attached itself to a type of lifestyle that is so prevalent in today’s age. Millennials, in particular, are the generation that loves to have their fun and catch a buzz, while doing so in the healthiest way possible. With a generation more obsessed with health and wellness than any before them, hard seltzers make for an attractive option to provide just that. 

Maybe it is too early to tell if the hard seltzer trend will only carry through into the cooler months of the year. With a drink so synonymous with sunny days and being outdoors, there’s a possibility the drink could be relegated to being a seasonal beverage. But with the way the market is projected to be, I think we’re in for a hard seltzer future. 

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