Beer brewers are forecasting that hard seltzer will be hot this summer, stocking store shelves with lots of new products amid growing sales for the fizzy alcoholic beverages.
Sam Adams parent Boston Beer Co.
already launched Truly Iced Tea Hard Seltzer earlier this year, and the company just added Truly Hard Punch Seltzer in the second quarter.
While speaking on the company’s earnings call in late April, David Burwick, chief executive of Boston Beer, said Truly has reached a market share of more than 28%.
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“We expect the launch of Truly Punch Hard Seltzer during the second quarter to continue this positive momentum,” he said, according to a FactSet transcript.
“We will invest heavily in the launch of Truly Punch Hard Seltzer and the Truly brand, evolve our communications, and further improve our position in the hard seltzer category as more competitors enter.”
And many more have plans for the category.
Molson Coors Beverage Co.
has added Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to its lineup, which it says has snapped up share since launching.
The company has also introduced Vizzy Lemonade, and Coors Seltzer is part of its portfolio.
“[W]hen it comes to our plans to aggressively grow our above-premium portfolio, as you know, we have big ambitions for hard seltzers this year, and the first quarter was a big one,” said Chief Executive Gavin Hattersley on the earnings call in late April.
Molson Coors reported a surprise first-quarter profit in late April, despite challenges including a global system outage caused by a cybersecurity incident and a shutdown of the company’s Fort Worth brewery after a Texas storm forced the government to cut power.
Boston Beer stock is up 12.3% for the year to date. Molson Coors shares are up 33.2%. And the S&P 500 index
has gained 12.5% for the period.
There have been a flood of competitors adding to the hard seltzer choices.
New Belgium Brewing Co. has launched its first hard seltzer, Fruit Smash. The 21st Amendment Brewery is taking its Soma Hard Seltzer to the 33 states where its products are sold. And, fresh off his successful partnership with McDonald’s Corp.
rapper Travis Scott has partnered with Anheuser Busch
for CACTI Agave Spiked Seltzer, which launched in March.
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The other big name in hard seltzer is White Claw, which is privately held and, as of December 2020, said it has no intention of going public.
The hard seltzer craze isn’t just in the U.S.
Heineken’s Pure Piraña is heading to Europe this summer after a launch in Mexico and New Zealand last year.
And not letting the beer brewers have all the fun, Hornitos Tequila has launched a seltzer.
Nielsen data shows that U.S. retail sales of hard seltzer jumped 103% in the year ending April 24, 2021, reaching $4.52 billion. That’s a a 585% increase from two years ago.
A March report from UBS forecasts that hard seltzer sales will reach $15 billion by 2025. Category awareness and expansion from the big brands are two of the growth drivers.
A survey conducted by UBS found that “taste” and “trying new things” were key reasons for consumption, though taste and price were also reasons some people avoid them.
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The survey also found that there’s room for the Truly brand to grow as customers express an interest in buying it again.
“Despite the impressive growth witnessed in 2020, we believe capacity constraints and the absence of shelf-resets held the hard seltzer category back from its true potential,” the report said.
“We see these issues being resolved in 2021.”