White claw is the drink of the summer. Made with a blend of seltzer water an alcohol base and a fruity flavor, it will leave you feeling refreshed and its available now for delivery.
Seems like in every part of the food and beverage business, there’s always something new. Not too long ago White Claw hit the market and continues to grow and flourish. It is what is known as hard seltzers. In the last 2 years, these beverages have exploded. Like BOOM. From June of 2019 to June of 2020 (beverage data is slow to mature), hard seltzer sales reached $2.7 billion. Billion with a B.
That was already a big hit with consumers but a year later, it grew in popularity even further. Hard seltzers now make up close to 15% of what’s called non-liquor alcohol sales. 2018 saw 10 brands. 2019 reached 26. Then 65 in 2020. That’s brands, not names and flavors. Many of these are strong recognizable regional or national brands.
I am new to this market so I wanted to find out who are the major players?
Hard Seltzer Major Brands
Early brands and number 1 by far is White Claw currently holding 50% of market share. They offer various variety packs and even single flavor boxes of their most popular options.
The original White Claw Variety Pack No. 1 includes Black Cherry, Ruby Grapefruit, Raspberry, and Natural Lime. Arguably the brand’s most popular flavors.
White Claw’s Hard Seltzer Surge comes with a higher ABV of 8%. Stronger but still just as refreshing as the original, the Surge pack includes Blackberry, Natural Lime, Blood Orange and Cranberry flavors.
Truly holds about 22% of the current market share. Truly’s product mix includes various sparkling water flavors but they also offer their takes on lemonade, iced tea, and margaritas.
Crisp lemonade flavor ranging from watermelon, original lemonade, strawberry, and mango, this variety pack is a Summer favorite.
Refreshing fruity flavors including Fruit Punch, Berry Punch, Tropical Punch, and Citrus Punch.
In 2020 – last year in the beverage world – along came Corona seltzer. Also Vizzy from Molson-Coors along with Henry’s. Anheuser-Busch bought Boathouse Beverage – spiked seltzer’s mother – a few years and later rebranded it as Bon Viv. Then along came Natural Light Hard Seltzer. Since then there’s Michelob Ultra Seltzer and Bud Light. Now there’s another story. More on that innovation later.
High Noon Sun Sips
Another player in the seltzer market is High Noon Sun Sips. It’s popularity is rising due to the fact that the alcohol base is generated from actual vodka and not a malt beverage. A marketing advantage as few are this way. High Noon offers “sun soaked” flavors like lemon, kiwi, guava, passionfruit, mango and peach. Other options are lime, pineapple, watermelon, grapefruit and black cherry. Not all is these are available for delivery according to retail inventory.
Variety packs are the name of the game in hard seltzers. High Noon has some interesting options like a pool pack, tropical pack and variety each containing 8 cans. There’s also a 12 packs selection called simply variety pack 12.
Coke is in the Game
Coke is also in the hard seltzer business. A few years ago they sort of quietly acquired Topo Chico. The fine Mexican sparkling water company. Critical to the popular, at least in Texas, Rain Water cocktail. Now there’s Topo Chico hard seltzer.
Let’s stop a minute and take a look at what hard seltzer is and how the concept is marketed. Yes, there are lots of people who have not experienced this beverage juggernaut at all. Recently, I had 3 tastings with friends who had never had a hard seltzer of any kind. One taster said, “I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve yet to have one.” This is man who is a regular consumer of alcoholic beverages. Beer, wine and distilled spirits (Scotch specifically). Now he’s had hard seltzer.
Topo-Chico Hard Seltzer Variety Pack
We kicked off the tasting with Topo-Chico. The flavors include Mango, Pineapple, Strawberry-Guava and Lemon-Lime.
Hard seltzer usually has a malt beverage base producing its alcohol. They are more similar to beer and very few have spirits at all. The flavors come from essential oils and essence, not very often does fruit or fruit juices come into play. 5% or close to it is the most common alcohol percentage. That drops to 4.7% as it did in Topo Chico or as low as 4% with Michelob Ultra. A few hard seltzers reach up to 8% with names like surge and stronger.
Some have little to no sugar, making up a drink with little carbs and calories. Besides it being a cool, refreshing beverage, hard seltzers seem to be a go-to low calorie alternative to beer, especially during the Summer months.
As to aroma and flavor, the results are generally similar. Some have a significant nose but not very strong. Some people perceive a good bit more than others. Other a sweetness the doesn’t reveal itself in the taste. The flavors are just as subtle as compared to soft drinks. Some linger more than others. Few have any real strength. Not obviously assertive.
Lots of Flavors and Combinations
Despite these perceptions, there are dozens of favors and combinations. Some are grouped together in specific flavor profiles like the Truly Citrus Mix Pack , Truly Tropical Mix Pack, Truly Berry Mix Pack, and etc. However most come in packs containing various fruity combinations while also offering packs of their most popular flavors.
The names seem endless but hover around similar hubs. Citrus and fruits are big. Iced teas and lemonades are some more. Other hard seltzers by events or places like the beach or parties. New ones still appear.
Topo Chico Tasting
Back to our Topo Chico tastings and newbie reactions. There was a BBQ lunch for the first tasting. We tried the seltzers before actual lunch. They were available during lunch as well as other beverages. There were light snacks for the others.
Once the various tasters got on track, the reactions remained similar. Surprised by the lighter beverage. For most drinkers this is the selling point. And it’s working big time. Sales and more product are booming.
Of the Topo Chico seltzers, these groups plus experienced tasters later preferred mango and pineapple to the strawberry and definitely to the lemon-lime. It appears that lemon-lime versions of most brands are the least popular. Something to keep in mind.
Bud Light Hard Soda
Remember that reference about another new development? If you noticed, AB premiered a different beverage within its Super Bowl ad campaign. Bud Light Hard Soda. Different than Bud Light Seltzer. They have the flavor profile of soft drinks. Some seltzers have that already like lemon-lime. AB says, “refreshing taste of Bud Light Seltzer, but with the “pop” of soda flavor and zero sugar. Plus it has 100 calories, gluten-free and naturally flavored.”
“Where the bold taste of soda meets the refreshment of seltzer! Available in classic cola, cherry cola, citrus soda, and orange soda flavors.”
Hard Soda Isn’t Clear
Wait – Surprise. Hard soda isn’t clear. It not only has the flavor of soda, it has the color as well. Citrus soda has a neon hit to it. Cherry lighter than expected. Cola is like diet Coke that’s lost most of its carbonation. John Caylor from Adams Beverage told me, “Cola is hot. Really popular.”
My favorite hard soda is the orange. If you like Orange Crush or one like that, this is your beverage. A winner.
As to that BBQ we had, the cola and orange hard sodas are fine. So is the lemonade hard seltzer. The mojito and margarita flavors work well too. Maybe iced tea. Add to that your favorite. That’s always a winner in your book.
Get Your Favorite Hard Seltzers Delivered
Great news. FetchMe Alcohol can deliver these hard seltzers to your door in 45 minutes. Their product offerings include beer, wine, spirits, and snacks as well. All you need to do is get online and go to FetchMe Alcohol. From there, select the product you want, and get it delivered from your local package store, distillery, or brewery.
Lots of products are available for FetchMe Alcohol to bring to you. Some of the product offerings include White Claw, Truly, Topo Chico, Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jose Cuervo Playamar, Bon Viv, Michelob, High Noon, Arizona Sunrise, Mike’s and Happy Dad.
FetchMe Alcohol constantly adds new products to the site so make sure you check back or sign up for updates.
Here’s something important to be aware of – FetchMe will check and scan your ID. They are serious. Even though you have already paid for your items online, your driver will not bring them to the door until the ID verification process had been completed and approved. If the ID check fails, there are no refunds or reimbursement. It is clear that you forfeit your credit card transaction, FetchMe and FetchMe Alcohol take charge backs seriously.
Give Hard Seltzers a try. Your current favorite or new ones. There are so many to choose from. FetchMe Alcohol and FetchMe are your solutions.