COME HELL OR (HARD) WATER
Hard seltzer is the official beverage of summer 2019
Media outlets have dubbed summer 2019 “the summer of hard seltzer,” pointing to the enormous popularity of hard seltzers like White Claw and Bon & Viv. Demand for these boozy bubbles has even led to the first-ever hard seltzer festival, held in Colorado just this past weekend, as well as an apparent shortage of White Claw (and subsequent frenzy as consumers stockpile their beloved hard seltzer). Now, new hard seltzer entrants vie for a piece of this booming market.
Natural Light entered the hard seltzer foray with the debut of Natural Light Seltzer in August. While “Natty Light” Seltzer is comparatively less expensive than other offerings in the boozy sparkling water category, each can has 6% ABV, a slightly higher ABV than competitors like White Claw. The hard seltzer comes in two flavors: Aloha Beaches (peach and mango) and Catalina Lime Mixer (lime and black cherry). The launch was recently followed up by news that Natural Light’s parent company Anheuser-Busch is also planning to debut a similar offering under the Bud Light brand, bringing the concept of hard seltzer into multiple Anheuser-Busch portfolio offerings.
PABST BLUE RIBBON
Around the same time as the release of Natural Light’s Seltzer in August, Pabst Blue Ribbon launched a competitive offering: Stronger Seltzer, a hard seltzer that certainly lives up to its name, as each can boasts an 8% ABV. While the higher ABV might be a draw for some, health-conscious imbibers should note that PBR’s Stronger Seltzer has double the calories of similar offerings, clocking in at 228 calories per can. Currently, PBR is only testing Stronger Seltzer in select markets, but given that the hard seltzer category continues to exhibit booming growth, the brand could potentially expand this offering.
Earlier this year, beloved brewery Oskar Blues launched four flavors of its craft-brewed Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water: Classic Lime, Cucumber Peach, Melon Basil, and Lemon Agave Hibiscus. Instead of fermenting malted barley, which is how beer is made, Wild Basin’s hard seltzers are made by fermenting cane sugar. Each ready-to-drink can contains 5% ABV, 100 calories, and zero grams of sugar, which should make hangovers a little easier to handle.