Lawless: The Rapid Rise and Future of Spiked Seltzer
Like the LaCroix craze before it, spiked seltzer has seen a meteoric rise this past year. As America continues its bubbly obsession, hard seltzer’s prominence is likely to grow as well.
Interested in learning more? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about spiked seltzer and where it’s going.
What Is Spiked Seltzer?
To put it simply, spiked seltzer is a seltzer that has alcohol in it. The kind of alcohol differs by brand but it’s typically cane sugar that’s been fermented. Fruit flavors are also usually added to it.
The majority of these spiked drinks have an alcohol content of around 4 to 6 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). That’s around the same ABV as a light beer.
The History of Spiked Seltzer
For decades, America’s favorite type of beverage had been soda. But as people became more health-conscious, they started looking to alternative drinks. The soda companies tapped into this and bottled water brands like Aquafina and Dasani were born.
Along with this, Perrier saw a rapid rise in American culture with its flair of European prestige. Over time, this would eventually lead to a cultural obsession with the canned seltzer drink LaCroix.
Spiked seltzer has been around in some form or another since the late 80s. Today’s new class of spiked seltzer arrived in 2013 when two men from Boston brewed a drink that was aptly called SpikedSeltzer.
The drink was inspired by the men’s wives’ infatuation with sparkling water. And believe it or not, brewing a beverage isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Although the beverage originally left retailers confused about how best to sell the product, SpikedSeltzer sold more than a quarter-million cases in 2015. The company was eventually sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2016.
Spiked Seltzer Today
Today, the biggest spiked seltzer companies are White Claw, Truly, and Bon & Viv (formerly SpikedSeltzer).
Like the soda companies with bottled water, the big-name brands are taking notice. Corona has come out with their Refrescas, Bud Light with Ritas Spritz, and Pabst Blue Ribbon with Stronger Seltzer.
But what is it that made spiked seltzer the unofficial summer drink of 2019 in the first place? The influence of LaCroix cannot be emphasized enough.
LaCroix fed into America’s hunger for bubbles and sweetness but without the sugars, calories, or guilt. It’s loved by Midwestern moms and Madison Avenue ad execs alike.
Of course, fads like these don’t last forever. In 2019, the value of LaCroix’s parent company, Nation Beverage, dropped by 62 percent. Much of this is due to increased competition and overexposure.
Still, spiked seltzer was able to piggy-back off of the drink’s success by offering flavors that LaCroix fans already know and love.
Plus, thanks to its relatively low alcohol content, little sugar, and smart marketing, it’s a drink that consumers can drink a lot of without getting hammered or feeling unhealthy.
Spiked Seltzer is Cool
Some big draws of spiked seltzer are that it’s convenient, a little fancy, and fairly cheap. Thanks to its low alcohol percentage, it can also be sold wherever beer is sold.
We also can’t forget to mention the bottles’ minimalist, Instagram friendly designs. The brands’ use of influencers has also been a big boost too. But it’s not just spiked seltzer, canned wine has also seen a rise as well.
Spiked Seltzer Is for Everyone
Beer seems to come with a connotation that it’s more of a man’s drink. While wine is sometimes seen as feminine. These are outdated marketing strategies that businesses are trying, albeit slowly, to steer away from.
But spiked seltzer is different. That’s because these companies are targeting Millennials, a generation that’s generally irreverent when it comes to gender stereotyping.
Instead, spiked seltzer is selling a lifestyle. What is that lifestyle exactly? Beaches, concerts, and poolside barbecues mainly.
Plus, there are a variety of men on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram who show themselves ironically loving the beverage. This, in a weird way, is only boosting the drink’s popularity.
Spiked Seltzer Tastes Good Enough
Perhaps the biggest benefit of spiked seltzer is that it’s easy to drink. Many alcoholic beverages have flavors that might overwhelm one’s palate or burn someone’s throat.
Spiked seltzer, however, is pleasant and goes down smooth. It might not be the most delicious drink but it does please a large number of people. And the fact that it’s tasty but not overwhelming has definitely helped contribute to its success.
The Future of Spiked Seltzer
Although no one can know for sure what the future has in store for spiked seltzer, we can definitely take some educated guesses.
Currently, the spiked seltzer market is worth around $550 million. However, that value is expected to soar to as much as $2.5 billion by 2021.
Despite that prediction, the market is also expected to change. White Claw is currently the leading brand but bigger brands are continuously chipping away at its market share.
Many Wall Street analysts are expecting a Truly (owned by Boston Beer) takeover in the coming months. Estimates for earnings for Boston Beer have risen for 2019, 2020, and 2021. Even though the companies Samuel Adams arm is lagging.
Getting in on the Trends
Today’s spiked seltzer market was essentially started by two men who wanted to make something their wives’ would like. And over a couple of years, that idea turned into a potentially billion-dollar industry.
Although not every beverage maker is going to have a hit like that, anyone who’s interested in making beverages should try.
Have you thought about designing your own drinks? Contact us today and see how we can help turn your dreams into a reality.