Hard Seltzer

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Hard Seltzer - Growth Drivers

The six growth drivers in the hard seltzer industry include: more health-conscious drinking habits, consumption of carbonated water in the U.S., overall interest in low-calorie alcoholic beverages, hard seltzer is easy and cheap, hard seltzer is gender-neutral and hard seltzer is fine.

More health-conscious drinking habits

  • Hard seltzers "are raising the bar around perceived health and wellness and attracting much of the dollars spent in the space."
  • According to research, hard seltzers are called guilt-free and not-too-sweet nor too intense burst of unmistakable joy.
  • A high percentage of Americans are giving up soda, and going for flavored seltzer, which doesn't have the sugary sweetness or the calories that came with it.
  • "Hard seltzer has a relatively low ABV and little or no additional sugar allows most versions to remain in the 100-calorie range."
  • The driver is considered a long-term driver

Consumption of carbonated water in the U.S.

  • According to Vox, Sparkling water, and low-alcohol beer has been constantly growing for the past years.
  • Customers who are seeking for sparkling beverages and alcohol and also desire better-for-you items are moving towards hard seltzer.
  • The sparkling water sales in the U.S. are forecasted to be worth $5.03 billion this year.
  • The driver is considered to be long-term.

Overall interest in low-calorie alcoholic beverages.

  • People are generally seeking for low-calorie alcoholic beverages as an alternative to vodka-soda, light beer, and wine which is driving the growth of hard seltzers.
  • Hard seltzers have a rare sweet spot of flavor, refreshment and functional benefits which is driving many American towards it.
  • "Millennial across the country are freaking out about a shortage of White Claw Hard Seltzers, a 100-calorie fizzy drink that contains 5% alcohol. "
  • The driver is considered to be long-term.

Hard seltzer is easy and cheap.

  • Hard seltzer is considered relatively cheap.
  • According to research, a can of Recess cost about five dollars while a six-pack of White Claw costs only about nine.
  • Based on the Nielsen survey, customers like that they can purchase hard seltzer in grocery stores." Hard seltzer’s low ABV content allows it to be sold anywhere you can buy beer."
  • "A 12-pack of White Claw retails for about $15, which is about the same price as a 12-pack of domestic light beer. "
  • There is no disclosure whether the driver is short or long-term.

Hard seltzer is gender-neutral

  • The fact that hard seltzer is fancy has given it a certain feminization so often associated with fruity, lower-ABV beverages think wine coolers, sangria, or Smirnoff Ice.
  • The hard seltzer product is selling a lifestyle which isn't reliant on gender." It’s a drink for doing summertime things: concerts, beaches, and boating."
  • The drink is viewed as a more upscale compared to other malt liquor offering.
  • The driver is considered long-term.

Hard seltzer is fine

  • Hard seltzer is considered fine by its consumers.
  • The drink can easily be consumed without any discomfort, but also fulfills the function of getting consumers drunk.
  • Hard seltzer is also great for the beach. It is considered the most inoffensive way of consuming alcohol.
  • There is no disclosure whether the driver is short or long-term.


To provide the six growth drivers in the hard seltzer industry, we started by reviewing through market reports, industrial articles and blogs such as wmagazine,wbur, fooddive, the daily beast and many more. We have been able to provide six growth drivers in the hard seltzer industry and details about the driver.

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Hard Seltzer - Insights and Trends

Five trends in the hard seltzer industry include creating healthier products, offering products with higher alcohol content, increasing bar and restaurant placement, employing fall- and winter-themed marketing, and using social media marketing.

Healthier Hard Seltzers

  • Hard seltzers are currently around 100 calories per serving, which is already much lower than beer and wine.
  • However, brands are focusing on cutting sugar, carbohydrates, and calories from their products to further market towards health-conscious millennials.
  • This trend is growing because the main customer segment includes people in their early twenties, and 54% of millennials report that the health impact of an alcoholic drink impacts their purchasing decision.
  • Ben Weiss, the founder of the Crook & Marker hard seltzer brand, said that consumers are not choosing seltzer as much as they are avoiding sugar.
  • Truly Hard Seltzer's Blueberry Acai has only one gram of sugar and two grams of carbohydrates, and Bon & Viv's Spiked Seltzers has one gram of carbohydrates and zero grams of sugar. Henry's Hard Sparkling Water has 99 calories and zero grams of sugar.
  • Nauti Seltzer and Briggs Hard Seltzer use real fruit instead of artificial flavorings.

Higher Alcohol Content

Increased Restaurant and Bar Placement

  • Hard seltzers are currently mostly consumed at-home and purchased in grocery and liquor stores but are now beginning to appear more in the restaurants and bars.
  • Boston Beer Company founder Jim Koch and the senior vice president of marketing for White Claw, Sanjiv Gajiwala, have discussed the opportunity for the industry that lies with increasing hard seltzer consumption at bars and restaurants.
  • Since around 2018, some restaurants and bars have started selling hard seltzers, and those that have report shockingly high sales volumes, especially of the brand White Claw.
  • Hard seltzers are increasing appearing at sports venues. Bon & Viv is now being sold in NFL stadiums and baseball parks.
  • The brands Truly and White Claw are attempting to increase bar and restaurant placement by introducing products aimed at "vodka soda drinkers" to be sold at bars and restaurants.
  • Chef James Beard and San Juan Seltzer are collaborating to open a brewery and restaurant that sells hard seltzer made on-site.

Fall- and Winter-Themed Marketing

  • Hard seltzer's success has taken off in the summer of 2019, so as fall approaches, hard seltzer brands are turning to fall- and winter-themed marketing to maintain relevance.
  • Gajiwala plans to market hard seltzers as a companion to fall events like football tailgating and Halloween parties.
  • As aforementioned, Bon & Viv is attempting to connect with football fans in the fall by selling at NFL stadiums and has a concentrated marketing campaign aimed at establishing the brand during the fall and winter months.
  • White Claw has posted fake advertisements for a pumpkin-spice flavored hard seltzer.
  • PRESS Premium Alcohol Seltzer has launched a fall-theme Apple Cinnamon flavor hard seltzer.

Social Media Advertising

  • White Claw sales took off due to a wave of user-generated content, and other brands have sought to replicate the same buzz through social media advertising.
  • Another driver of this trend is the rapid proliferation of competitors, which has driven companies to focus on increasing brand recognition.
  • As aforementioned, Four Loko has announced its hard seltzer debut through social media, which has received widespread attention on Twitter.
  • Boston Beer Company launched a major social media advertising campaign for its hard seltzer brand, Truly.
  • Natural Light has also introduced a hard seltzer, which they debuted on Twitter.

Research Strategy

To identify five trends in the hard seltzer industry, our research team employed a three-step strategy. First, we surveyed business, marketing, and industry publications for trends in the hard seltzer industry. Based on this preliminary research, we then created a list of potential trends. We narrowed down the list based on the quantity of evidence substantiating the trend, the number of businesses that leaned into it, and the uniqueness to the hard seltzer industry. Last, we conducted a final round of research to gather more detail about each of the trends chosen.

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Hard Seltzer - Sustainability

From research findings, it is clear that the hard seltzer industry in the United States will be around for the long term. This is because all the available reasons are inclined towards the sustainability of the industry. The reasons identified for the sustainability of the hard seltzer industry include the desire for Americans to be healthier, the increasing number of sober curious people, the fact that hard seltzer products are relatively cheap and gender-neutral, the entrance of large beer brands into the hard seltzer market, mixology and on-premise usage, and the obsessive consumer culture that has been sparked by hard seltzer products. A detailed overview of the research findings follows below.



Why Reason Supports the Hypothesis

  • Hard seltzer products are considered healthier than other alcoholic drinks because they have lower-calories, lower-sugar, and are gluten-free.
  • This reason supports the hypothesis because more and more health-conscious consumers in the United States will continue to facilitate the sustainability of the industry as they continue to shift from other alcoholic drinks that they consider unhealthy.

Quantitative Data



Why Reason Supports the Hypothesis

  • This reason supports the hypothesis that the hard seltzer industry in the United States will be around for the long term because the industry offers products that are generally lower in alcohol than other beverages.
  • These products are ideal for the growing number of sober curious Americans who want to consume drinks that have a lower-alcohol content.

Quantitative Data

  • Most hard seltzer products have alcoholic content that lies between 4% and 6% alcohol by volume.
  • The low/zero alcohol category in the United States is expected to grow by 32% between 2018 and 2022. This signifies a bright future in terms of sustainability for the hard seltzer industry in the United States.



Why Reason Supports the Hypothesis

Quantitative Data

  • With a relatively pocket-friendly price that is seen in the price of $15 for a 12 pack of White Claw, it is clear that the hard seltzer industry has positioned itself for success by offering a pocket-friendly product which is also associated with a level of luxury and sophistication.
  • Sales of the White Claw hard seltzer drink were up 223% in July 2019. This increased sales can be attributed to the relatively cheap price that the drink goes for and the fact that hard seltzer is gender-neutral and enjoyed by everyone.



Why Reason Supports the Hypothesis

  • This reason supports the hypothesis of sustainability because the entrance of large beer brands into the market will only serve to strengthen the hard seltzer industry and make it more sustainable for the future.

Quantitative Data

  • Spiked Seltzer was rebranded to Bon & Viv after acquisition by Anheuser-Busch. According to Nielsen data, Bon & Viv experienced a sales increase of 28% in July 2019.
  • The Boston Beer Company, which owns Truly Hard Seltzer "estimates that Boston Beer could see a 5.9% EPS boost over the next 3 years from the Truly brand."



  • The fact that hard seltzers can also be used as mixers is another reason for the sustainability of the industry. This is because alternative uses of hard seltzer have the potential to stretch the obsession of the drinks past the summer season in the United States.
  • According to Matt Bardill, a senior manager at Total Wine & More, "people drink non-alcoholic seltzers year-round, and I think that’s what’s going to help hard seltzers combat seasonality."
  • Mixology and on-premise usage in bars and clubs presents another business opportunity for hard seltzers because it creates new usage patterns that will combat seasonality.

Why Reason Supports the Hypothesis

  • Mixology and on-premise usage both present new angles in the usage of hard seltzers that can potentially support the long term sustainability of hard seltzer products in the United States.



  • In the United States, the skyrocketing popularity of hard seltzers has led to the emergence of a lifestyle and culture around the products.
  • An example of this lifestyle/culture is seen in the emergence of hard seltzer catchphrases such as "ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws" and memes that are shared across social media.
  • By creating a lifestyle and culture around the hard seltzer industry, a growing number of Americans are emerging as the consumers within the industry.
  • The fact that the hard seltzer culture is spreading to the internet and social media in the form of memes will also draw more attention towards the products and result in increased public exposure that is also good for the long term sustainability of the industry.

Why Reason Supports the Hypothesis

  • The above reason supports the hypothesis of sustainability because more and more consumers in the United States continue to join in on the lifestyle and culture resulting in a growing, robust consumer base that will help with the sustainability of the industry.

Quantitative Data


From Part 02