Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

The hard seltzer wars are heating up

Competition in the hard seltzer market is heating up in the closing weeks of summer, as big companies like Constellation Brands, AB InBev and Molson Coors have entered the market and Coca-Cola is poised to join the fray in 2021.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has increased alcohol sales overall and hard seltzers are exploding in popularity and look to have staying power, boasting record high sales in recent weeks.

What's happening: At the beginning of 2018, 10 hard seltzer brands were on the market, analysts at market research firm Nielsen write.

  • "That number rose to 26 brands by the beginning of 2019, and more than 65 brands are now fighting for consumers’ attention and purchase."

The state of play: Coors' Vizzy, Constellation's Corona Seltzer and AB inBev's Bud Light Seltzer have begun taking increasing share from market leaders White Claw (845 basis points of volume share year over year) and Truly (280 basis points).

  • However, investors are betting that even as Big Bev moves in, the hard seltzer market is primed to be a fast-growing pie.
  • Coca-Cola announced it is releasing Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in Latin America later this year before unrolling it in the United States.

By the numbers: During the four weeks ending July 11, the hard seltzer category recorded all-time high retail sales of $413 million, Bank of America Global Research notes.

  • At its summer peak last year, hard seltzer accounted for 5.4% of beer category dollars, according to Nielsen.
  • In the four weeks ending July 11, hard seltzers captured 10.1% of total beer/flavored malt beverage/cider retail sales.
  • Previously thought of as a summer-only alcoholic beverage, Nielsen reports that in colder months, hard seltzer still held 5% of the beer retail sales category.
  • Hard seltzer dollar sales were already up nearly 500% from 2018 to 2019.

The intrigue: Hard seltzer has "proven to be the most resilient segment within the entire alcoholic beverage industry, which has felt the sting of sudden bar, restaurant and on-premise tasting room closings amid the COVID-19 pandemic," per Nielsen.

  • Since the week ending March 21, each week’s off-premise U.S. dollar sales of hard seltzer has exceeded the week of July 4, 2019, which was previously the highest individual week of sales.
  • The week ending June 13, 2020, represented the fourth consecutive week during which hard seltzer drove more than $100 million in retail off-premise dollar sales, and the 10th consecutive week during which annual retail hard seltzer dollar sales increased by at least $50 million.
Data: Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Social media is helping hard seltzers' prospects, withthis year's July 4 holiday driving new sales records.

  • BofA notes that the number of Instagram posts mentioning hard seltzer increased 16% in July from the prior month and were 39% higher in comparison to July 2019, indicating additional share gains this summer.
  • "There is a solid relationship between the volume of Instagram posts mentioning hard seltzer and total retail sales of the category as consumers' Instagram posts are usually linked to direct consumption."

Naftali Bennett: How Israel's new PM plans to handle relations with Biden

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is signaling he intends to move cautiously at first on issues like Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an approach that will suit the Biden administration just fine.

Why it matters: Bennett is aiming to avoid an early confrontation with the U.S., and his fragile and ideologically diverse government will have a hard time taking any groundbreaking steps on foreign policy in the first place.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden: Consequences for Russia would be "devastating" if opposition leader Navalny dies

President Biden said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin during Wednesday's summit that if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in prison, the consequences "would be devastating for Russia."

Why it matters: Although the White House had previously warned the Russian government over Navalny's imprisonment, Biden personally delivered the message to Putin on Wednesday.

Keep reading... Show less

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will support Juneteenth bill

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will support a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday when it comes to the floor later Wednesday, his office tells Axios.

Why it matters: The House is slated to pass a bill making June 19 — Juneteenth — a federal holiday that memorializes when the last enslaved people in Texas learned about their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation.

  • It will then go to President Biden for his signature just days before the occasion and one day after the Senate passed the bill unanimously.

Biden says he raised human rights issues in Putin summit

President Biden said he raised issues including nuclear arms control, cybersecurity, election interference and violations of human rights in Russia in his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "My agenda is not against Russia or anybody else. It's for the American people," Biden said at a press conference following the summit, which was shorter than expected.

Keep reading... Show less

Putin calls talks with Biden "constructive," says ambassadors will return to posts

Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference immediately following the meetings.

Keep reading... Show less

Southwest heat wave intensifies, 40 million likely to see 100-degree temperatures

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

Keep reading... Show less

Lordstown Motors: A tale of hubris, political pandering and regulatory failure

Lordstown Motors is the quintessential business fiasco. Equal parts hubris, political pandering and regulatory failure.

Why it matters: There's no indication that anyone will learn their lesson, except perhaps for some random retail investors who didn't diversify.

Keep reading... Show less

GM boosts investment in electric, autonomous vehicles by $8 billion

General Motors plans to boost its cumulative investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion from 2020-2025, a significant jump from a $27 billion target.

Driving the news: GM said this morning that the initiative will include building two new battery cell manufacturing plants in addition to the two already under construction in Tennessee and Ohio.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories