Posted: Aug 03, 2020
Over the past 2 years, the category has grown from 10 brands to more than 65
For many casual observers and drinkers, hard seltzer seemed to come out of nowhere last summer. Sweeping across the country like a fizzy, buzz-making tidal wave, hot girl summer suddenly had an official beverage sponsor: White Claw.
But for those in the industry or closely observing it, the rise of hard seltzer wasn’t mere happenstance—consumers were primed for the product. The fact that hard seltzer contains less alcohol than spirits and fewer calories than beer, while by widespread consensus also tasting pretty good, has kept people coming back.
Now, brands both big and small are growing the category. New ad campaigns, product innovations and creative merchandise, like face masks that come with a straw-sized slot for the Covid-19 era, are generating attention.
Retail sales have remained robust throughout the pandemic, which has ultimately hurt the alcohol industry. From the beginning of March to mid-July, off-premise sales of hard seltzer hit $1.66 billion, up 253% from the same time last year and more than the category produced in all of 2019, according to Nielsen. While retail beer sales during this period were much larger ($14.87 billion), the year-over-year increase was much smaller (12%).
The category’s upward trajectory has attracted plenty of competition. According to Nielsen, 10 hard seltzer brands existed at the beginning of 2018. A year later, it was 26. At present, more than 65 different labels are available. Approximately half are under a completely new name (e.g., Vizzy Hard Seltzer from Molson Coors), while the other half leverage a preexisting beer brand name (e.g., Corona Hard Seltzer from Constellation Brands).
By Kathryn Lundstrom, Paul Hiebert
August 3, 2020
Source and complete article: Adweek.com
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