The hard seltzer boom that started a couple of years ago and grew during the pandemic is carrying on in the new year as brands continue to embrace the drink's success with a cooler full of new flavors and products.
A year after Anheuser-Busch launched its Bud Light Seltzer, the company has come out with its latest iteration of flavors with Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade.
Bud Light started its foray into the seltzer space with what Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, said was a range of four basic flavors: lemon lime, black cherry, mango and strawberry.
And in its first year, Bud Light Seltzer came out with other packs, including a Remix Pack, an Ugly Sweater Pack and a Bud Light Seltzer Platinum – which contains a higher alcohol content.
Goeler told USA TODAY that as Bud Light started to plan for 2021 and continued looking at the seltzer category, the company began looking into different segments for the beverage.
Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade was the answer.
"We wanted to provide a lemonade that was the best lemonade seltzer," he continued, noting that other brands, including Truly Hard Seltzer, also have a lemonade-flavored hard seltzer.
Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade's variety pack comes with four flavors that pack a punch of sweetness and fizz: original lemonade, black cherry lemonade, strawberry lemonade and peach lemonade. They each contain 100 calories and less than 1 gram of sugar, and come in 12 packs of a 12-ounce slim can.
On top of the brand's sweet add with Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade, Bud Light Seltzer released a seasonal pack dubbed Bud Light Seltzer “Out of Office” in February.
The limited release includes watermelon mojito, classic margarita, mango mai tai and strawberry daiquiri – all of which are full of flavor.
The seasonal pack is available in 12-ounce slim cans in 12 packs through May 15.
And Bud Light Seltzer isn't the only brand that has put out new seltzer flavors for the new year. Several other brands have released seltzers at the end of 2020 or early in 2021 as the drink trend continues to grow.
Michelob Ultra adds organic seltzer
Michelob Ultra, another Anheuser-Busch brand, touted its recent release as the first USDA-certified organic hard seltzer: Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer.
The seltzer feels appropriate for a summer soirée (or Sunday night football, whichever you prefer), and clocks in at 80 calories with zero grams of sugar. It comes in three flavors: spicy pineapple, peach pear and cucumber lime. It's available in a 12 pack of 12-ounce cans, a 24 pack of 12-ounce cans and a 25-ounce can.
In March, Michelob Ultra launched the "Classic Collection" pack, which includes mixed berry, citrus and mango apricot.
The "Classic Collection" flavors contain 90 calories per can with 2 carbs and zero grams of added sugar. It's available in a 12 pack of 12-ounce cans nationwide. The mixed berry flavor will also be available in a 16-ounce can and a 25-ounce can.
Ricardo Marques, vice president of Michelob Ultra, said in a statement that the brand's first seltzer is the "prefect choice" for people looking for an organic option.
Truly releases Truly Iced Tea Hard Seltzer
When there's lemonade, there must be iced tea, too, right?
Truly Hard Seltzer announced it was launching an iced tea seltzer pack in January, billing it as "a first-of-its-kind mix of refreshing hard seltzer, real brewed tea and fruit flavor," the brand said in a release.
The new array of flavors includes lemon, peach, raspberry and strawberry hard iced tea seltzers. Each can contains one gram of sugar and 100 calories with 5% alcohol content.
"With each innovation, we're pushing the boundaries of what drinkers expect from hard seltzer," Casey O'Neill, senior product development manager at The Boston Beer Company, parent to Truly, said in the statement. "We spent eight months testing more than 250 iterations to land on the Truly Iced Tea."
Craft brewers have new flavors coming, too
As major brewers release new seltzer flavors and brands, smaller companies, including craft brewers, are adding to the flavor range in the seltzer industry, too.
Bruce Downes, head of marketing at Willie's Superbrew, a regional craft brewing company available throughout New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, told USA TODAY that Willie's is coming out with a new flavor.
On March 1, Willie's will add a grapefruit and lime to its lineup, which already includes flavors such as ginger and lemon, mango and passionfruit, pomegranate and acai, pineapple and lime, and blueberry and lemon.
Grapefruit and lime features a dash of sea salt and will be a 100-calorie seltzer with no added sugar.
Downes called it "delightfully bright and citrusy."
It will be "the perfect drink to shake off winter and kick off spring," Downes added, noting that it comes in a six pack for $10.99 and will be available for spring and summer.
Karbach Brewing Co., another regional brewery, released its own hard seltzer on Jan. 4, Ranch Water, which features lime and agave and is available throughout Texas.
Ranch Water comes after Karbach faced demand from its customer base for a seltzer, David Graham, marketing manager for Karbach, told USA TODAY in a statement.
“Folks of all kinds come to the brewery, and a lot of times we’re getting requests for something outside the ‘normal’ beer world and something that is lower in carbs and calories," Graham said. "Ranch Water Hard Seltzer has been our most strenuous product development, probably of all time, at the brewery."
It took Karbach two years to perfect the 90 calorie seltzer, which contains 5 grams of sugar and has 4.5% alcohol content, Graham said. Ranch Water is available in six and 12 packs of 12-ounce cans and in 16-ounce cans on site at the brewery.
Once believed a fad: Hard seltzer is showing no signs of fizzling
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Truly, Bud Light Seltzer, Michelob Ultra hard seltzer flavors debut