Nobody knew what hard seltzer was back in 2012 and now it has become the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States. How can this new beverage takedown well-known giants like wine and whiskey? Marketing might be the differentiator.
A really short history of hard seltzer
The very short history of hard seltzer started out in 2013 when Bon & Viv released their beverage. In 2016, White Claw, the biggest brand in the hard seltzer category, took the stands. Now, there are over 150 brands that fight over market share in this category. How did this alcoholic beverage become so popular and who are the biggest players on the market today?
Top brands that sell hard seltzer
In the US, hard seltzer is slowly becoming the most popular summer beverage. While this is happening, only two companies have over 70% of the market share. White Claw and Boston Beer Co’s Truly account for over 70% of total sales.
Apart from these two big players, some smaller brands are fighting for a place on the stands in the US. Some of the most well-known brands of hard seltzer include Two Robbers, Elenita, Onda.
In the UK, Served, DRTY, and &Soda are the ones fighting over market share. While this drink is becoming more popular in the UK and US than ever, in Eastern Europe, it is not a hit yet. However, hard seltzer sales are expected to grow, because they went up 34% compared to 2020.
Also, at the moment, this beverage category hit $4.5 billion in global sales.
Why is hard seltzer the trendiest drink
You might be wondering why this beverage is so popular, all of a sudden. Taking into consideration the fact that sales of hard seltzers skyrocketed 130% by volume in 2020, this alcoholic beverage has to have something special, right?
Well, one of the reasons for which this drink became popular was the COVID-19 pandemic. People were looking for a refreshing drink, with a bit of alcohol, and they were ready to experiment.
Also, this beverage is specially marketed for Millennials. It is being promoted as a better-for-you-drink. Since this drink only has water, a small amount of alcohol, and some fruit flavor, it is being sold as a better, healthier alternative to common alcoholic drinks.
Millennials love to try new things and they are always looking for the healthiest alternative. Hard seltzer is gluten-free, sugar-free and it comes with less than 100 calories per serving. This is also suitable for people who are on a diet but also want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time.
The pandemic changed the way we shop, drink, work, and behave. Because people spend a lot of time in their houses, they needed to find a way to unwind. Many people turned to alcoholic beverages for this. However, they needed to take into consideration the negative impacts of strong spirits like vodka and whiskey. Beer and wine seemed like reasonable choices.
However, what do you drink when you want something without a lot of alcohol that is also fancy? You turn to a hard seltzer. And that is how the increase in sales began for this product category.
Noticing the trend, many companies started to produce and sell their hard seltzer in the US. Cacti and Vizzy are just of the newest brands of hard seltzer you can find in supermarkets at the moment.
Since marketing seems to be the differentiating factor, let’s take a look at some of the best campaigns for hard seltzer.
Best hard seltzer campaigns
1. Viper’s in-store brand activation
Viper is the first hard seltzer available in Romania. For its launch, there needed to be something that set it apart from other beverages and brands. This is why, apart from their 360° launch, the brand decided to have an in-store brand activation which generated trial among the shoppers.
With the help of Tokinomo, Viper managed to attract attention in stores and increase sales by 60%, without price cuts.
2. Truly’s Flavourful commercial
Truly wanted to promote their new flavors in a creative way. That’s why they created a commercial around the idea that “Nobody is just one flavor”. In the video, Dua Lipa is the character that shows us that everybody can be multiple things.
The colorful commercial managed to receive 2.878.305 views on YouTube since it was released. Also, the commercial received positive feedback from YouTube users who seemed to love the ad.
3. High Noon - Sun’s Up
High Noon really knows its audience and one of their commercials let us know this. The ironic and quirky commercial named May your day be sunny was a real hit. Millennials are ironic people and they love self-mocking as well.
In this commercial, an old, wise man wishes great things for a group of young people who came to buy hard seltzer at his store. Apart from telling young people to live like the sun is always out, the wise man includes some playful directives such as “may everyone respond to your group text” and “may watching all those barbecue tutorials actually pay off”.
As you can see, most brands that produce hard seltzer rely on colorful, fun, and innovative campaigns to promote their products. Hard seltzer might not be a magical drink sent from angels on Earth, but it is definitely marketed right and all of the campaigns mentioned above prove this.