Hard Seltzer Competitive Landscape - US

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Hard Seltzer in the US - Part 1

We have provided a landscape analysis, flavor audit, positioning audit and packaging audit for High Noon Sun Sips, White Claw Hard Seltzer, Truly Spiked and Sparkling, and PRESS Premium Hard Seltzer. The attached spreadsheet in columns C-F contains our findings.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


RESEARCH STRATEGY

We carried out this landscape analysis, flavor audit, positioning audit, and packaging audit using information found on each company's website, industry reports from experts in the field as well as from distributors of these products.

To arrive at the market share for Truly Spiked and Sparkling, we used their 2018 revenue and divided that by the market size of $550 million. See calculation below.

Calculations:
$52 million/$550 million x 100 = 9.45%

In the case of High Noon Sun Sips and PRESS Premium Hard Seltzer, these were launched in 2019 and 2018 respectively, therefore their revenues are not yet known. We tried to go through several thrid-party databases as well, including Hoovers, Owler, Chrunchbase, and Manta but information was not readily available there as well. The full details of our findings are outlined in the attached spreadsheet.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Hard Seltzer in the US - Part 2

MARKET INFORMATION

  • Hard seltzer was the primary force of growth in the beer sector in 2018, making up 1.3% of total dollar share in 2018.
  • Hard seltzer's revenue grew almost 169% in dollars in 2018, with most of the sales occurring in the summer and particularly during the holidays.
  • In 2018, White Claw, Truly and Bon & Viv, which was still known as Spiked Seltzer, accounted for almost 90% of the total hard seltzer market.
  • The total spike seltzer market was valued at $520 million in February 2019.
  • The two brands dominating this sector are White Claw and Truly representing 85% of the total hard seltzer market.

BON & VIV

  • Date of Release: Bon & Viv is the 2019 rebranding of SpikedSeltzer, which was launched in 2013.
  • Owner: Anheuser Busch acquired SpikedSeltzer in October 2016, adding the brand to their High End division.
  • Distribution: Available online and in some stores nationally.
  • Market Share: The combined sales for the second quarter of the brands representing 85% of total share in 2019 was $246 million, and the sales for Bon & Viv was $35.6 million. An estimate for Bon & Viv's market share can then be calculated as 12%. (total market= 246/0.85, Bon & Viv's share: 35.6/total market * 100)
  • Price per Can: $1.42 per can of the 6 ct ($8.49 per pack), $1.25 per can of the 12 ct ($14.99 per pack).
  • Flavors: Hibiscus Clementine, grapefruit, cranberry, pear elder flower, black cherry rosemary, lemon lime, prickly pear
  • Tagline: "Follow your siren"
  • Health Claims: Having 0 grams of sugar, 90 calories, and being gluten free
  • Social Media Montage:
  • Messaging Hierarchy: The brand name is at the top followed by "Spiked Seltzer", the product type. Below the mermaid logo is the flavor surrounded by health related claims.
  • Container Visuals: The main logo consists of two mermaids on a slim 12 oz can holding the same trident against a white background. At the bottom a "sea" of blue encloses the flavor and nutritional information. The font is consistently navy blue, but there is some color variation in order to differentiate among flavors.
  • Package Visuals: The 12 ct variety pack comes in a blue cardboard box with images of the mermaid logo and actual products on it. There is a built in handle, and nutritional information is displayed in bold font.

NAUTI SELTZER

  • Date of Release: Wachusett's Brewing Co. launched Nauti Seltzer in 2016.
  • Owner: Wachusett's Brewing Company
  • Distribution: Regionally in the mid-Atlantic and around New England, as well as online. Specific states of interest include Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
  • Market Sales: Can be estimated as less than 3%
  • Price per Can: $1.67 per can of the 6 ct ($9.99 per pack).
  • Flavors: Watermelon, Blueberry Lemonade, Black Cherry, Mixed Berry
  • Tagline: According to Instagram and Facebook posts, "Get Nauti" seems to be the brand's tagline/ hashtag.
  • Health Claims: Having 100 calories, low carbs, low sugar, being gluten free
  • Social Media Montage:
  • Messaging Hierarchy: The description "hand-crafted" is above the brand name, followed by the health claim "low calorie". After the flavor is listed and then another health claim "gluten free", and finally at the bottom is the product description along with alcohol content.
  • Container Visuals: The brand name is the major focus of the 12 oz. slim can and it is set against a white background and framed by a light blue abstract shape. In order to differentiate the flavors, there are accent colors and patterns on the rim and bottom of each can.
  • Package Visuals: Each pack is made of cardboard and follows a similar format as the cans. They are mostly white and feature images of the product enclosed. They also emphasize being gluten free and less than 100 calories next to the large brand logo on each box.

SAUZA AGUA FUERTE

  • Date of Release: The new ready-to-drink selection was launched in summer of 2018
  • Owner: Sauza Tequila Import Company
  • Distribution: Along with online alcohol retailer Drizly, these drinks can be found at major national retailers such as Binny's, Walmart, Target, and World Market.
  • Market Sales: Can be estimated as less than 3%
  • Price per Can: $2.00 per can of the 4 ct ($7.99 per pack)
  • Flavors: Lime, Mango, Grapefruit, Pineapple
  • Tagline: "What A Fresh Idea" as written on the product line's official page on the brand's website seems to be the closest approximation to a designated tagline.
  • Health Claims: No artificial flavors or sweeteners, less than 115 calories
  • Social Media Montage:
  • Additional Key Messages: Made with Sauza silver tequila and natural flavors
  • Social Media: The product line is rarely advertised on the brand's Facebook page, however there are a few dedicated posts on their Instagram. Unlike the other brands listed, Sauza Agua Fuerte is a product line that has to share the limelight with the brand's main offerings: tequila.
  • Messaging Hierarchy: Health-related claims border the top rim in relatively fine print. The product name is next in large font, and next to it is the alcohol ABV. This is followed by the product type "spiked sparkling water", and specification "with Sauza tequila". Following the sugar skull is the flavor and finally specific content information regarding flavoring, alcohol, and volume.
  • Container Visuals: A Mexican sugar skull is the cohesive logo of the product line, and each flavor is differentiated by color against a white background. The container is a slim 12oz can.
  • Package Visuals: Packaged in cardboard boxes with 4 cans per pack, pictures of the actual product are printed on multiple sides against a white background. On the top are flavor and nutritional details, and the product type "Spike Sparkling Water with Sauza Tequila" is emphasized on each side.

ARCTIC SUMMER

  • Date of Release: Spring 2019
  • Owner: A collaboration of Boston's Harpoon Brewery and Polar Beverages
  • Distribution: Northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions, as well as online.
  • Market Sales: Can be estimated as less than 3%
  • Price per Can: $1.67 per can of the 6 ct ($9.99 per pack), $1.45 per can of the 12 ct ($17.49 per pack).
  • Flavors: Pineapple Pomelo, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Raspberry Lime, Black Cherry
  • Tagline: "Boozy bubbles crafted with polar seltzer"
  • Health Claims: Low carbs, Gluten free, 5% alcohol, No artificial sweeteners
  • Social Media Montage:
  • Messaging Hierarchy: The product type and flavor is on the top left of the vertical brand name centered on each can, and on the bottom left is the tagline.
  • Container Visuals: The aesthetics are minimalist with the brand name vertically centered in a white rectangular box on the 12 oz. slim can, against a colored background with silver bubbles or polka dots. The different colors correspond to different flavors.
  • Package Visuals: Packaged in cardboard boxes with 6 per pack, the box takes on the color of the single flavor enclosed. Similar to the can, the product type and flavor is on top followed by the brand name and then the tagline. Next to the tagline is the image of a polar bear and health-related claims. There are also images of the actual product in the corresponding flavor on certain sides of the box. The variety 12 pack is differentiated by all 4 colors and 4 flavors being visible on the box.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

The market share or sales for each of these brands was not readily available to the public due to the relatively recent development of the hard seltzer industry. Some of these product lines have also just recently launched such as Arctic Summer, which is not yet a year old, so logically less information will be available. In order to assess the hard seltzer marketed, we searched for company annual reports on the brand websites as well as other market databases such as Owler and Crunchbase, but no direct statistics could be found. Next, we searched specifically within the beer and flavored malt beverage industry for any insight into this market, and found an article citing data from market research company IRI, which could be used in a triangulation to estimate the relative share of the market each brand holds. Combining the total sales revenue for the sector from IRI's survey and the market share of the two top brands, we were able to estimate the total sales revenue for that quarter. We did this because the sales revenue of Bon & Viv was also reported and could then be calculated as a fraction of the estimated market (total market= 246/0.85, Bon & Viv's share: 35.6/total market * 100). Adding this calculated share to the share given for the top two brands, we can estimate that the three brands together represent 97% of the total sector. Therefore, the other 3 brands must represent less than 3% (100% — (85% White Claw and Truly + 12% Bon & Viv)). We can compare this 97% estimate with the 90% estimate of 2018 and conclude that it is reasonable.
General distributor information could not be readily found for the entire United States. However, all brands were available at online retailers with the capacity of being shipped to homes across the country.


Part
03
of four
Part
03

Hard Seltzer in the US - Part 3

The owners of Henry's Hard Sparkling Water, Wild Basin Boozy, and Crook & Marker are Molson Coors, Oskar Blues Brewery, and Ben Welss respectively. Sean Cusack, Clayton Christopher, and David Barnes own Mighty Swell Seltzer. Details on each brand have been provided on columns K-N of the attached spreadsheet.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

HENRY'S HARD SPARKLING WATER

MIGHTY SWELL SELTZER

  • The brand was launched in May 2016 by Sean Cusack, Clayton Christopher, and David Barnes.
  • It is available in cherry lime, watermelon mint, grapefruit, and peach flavors.
  • The health claims are 110 calories, gluten-free, and 4g of sugar.

WILD BASIN BOOZY

  • Crook & Marker was founded by Ben Welss.
  • The product is available in retail stores, bars, restaurants and other locations nationwide.[source 17]
  • It is available in black cherry, tangerine, strawberry lemon, blackberry lime, grapefruit, mango, peach, and coconut-pineapple flavors.
  • The brand's tagline is Once a Marker always a marker.
  • The health claims are 0 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of carbs, gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan, no artificial flavors and sweeteners.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Hard Seltzer in the US - Part 4

Vive Hard Seltzer, Fick's Hard Seltzer, and Briggs Hard Seltzer were released in March 2019, May 2018, and 2016 respectively. Details of each seltzer are provided below as well as in the attached spreadsheet.

VIVE HARD SELTZER

FICKS HARD SELTZER

  • Date of release: May 2018.
  • Owner: Ficks Beverage Co.
  • Distribution: Local to San Francisco, CA.
  • Price per can: The drink cost approximately $1.75 per can ($10.49 per 6-pack).
  • Flavors: Cranberry, Lime, Grapefruit, and Blackberry.
  • Tagline: The real fruit hard seltzer.
  • Health claims:The drink is natural and gluten free with only 100 calories and 0 grams of sugar added.
  • Additional messaging: The drink is made with real, local ingredients.
  • Imaging profile can be found in the attached Google Doc.
  • The message hierarchy starts with the brand name and label, then the flavors, and the heath claims.
  • The cans are labeled with the brand name across the top in large bold letters, then a picture of the fruit flavor, next a description of the drink including what it is (spiked sparkling water), and then the alcohol content at 5% in small letters. The color is white with the rim around the top and bottom matching the flavor.
  • The package has the brand name and label at the top left in the color of the flavor. In the middle is a large picture of the can with the flavor listed. In the center and towards the bottom, the health facts are positioned.

BRIGGS HARD SELTZER

  • Date of release: 2016.
  • Owner: Briggs Hard Seltzer
  • Distribution: The drink is available in NY, MD, MA, and RI.
  • Price per can: The drink cost approximately $1.67 per can ($9.99 per 6-pack).
  • Flavors: Pineapple, Grapefruit, and Cranberry.[2]
  • Tagline: Briggs Hard Seltzer is all about the juice.
  • Health claims: The drink is made with 100% real fruit juice and had only 108 calories per can.
  • Additional messaging: The drink is made with only three ingredients: Filtered water, alcohol from cold-brewed sugar, and fruit juice. There are no added sugars or preservatives.
  • Imaging profile can be found in the attached Google Doc.
  • The message hierarchy starts with the health claims then the brand name, and label, and then flavors.
  • The cans are labeled with the health claims around the rim, then there are fruit visuals surrounding the top and bottom. In the middle is the brand name and label as well as the flavor. The center banner is colored by flavor.
  • The packages have a picture of the can on the left. On the right top is the brand name and label in white, and on the right bottom is the flavor and health claims in the flavor color.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

In order to determine the market share or sales and price per can for Vive as well as the market share for Ficks and Briggs, we began by scouring the company website and publications in search of any metric or visual that would allow us to calculate these figure. Unfortunately, prices or sales were not available through this search. We continue our search by scouring industry reports, company analysis', and media publications. Unfortunately, this search also provided no results, our only findings were descriptions of the flavor profile and health claims. We then soured each of the companies social media sites scouring every post from march to august. Unfortunately, there were no posts, comments, or reviews that revealed any additional details. Finally, we search stores in the area that Vive is sold in search of an online price listing. This search also revealed no results. It appears that seltzer is only sold through the brewing company or at bars, which do not list pricing or financial details online. In addition, because Ficks and Briggs are private company's, there were no reports or publications detailing any metrics that could be used to calculate market share.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
From Part 03