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Why the hard seltzer summer trend is more than a fad

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

In the sweltering days of summer, the hard seltzer industry is bubbling up.

And while millennials and Gen Z consumers across the nation are poking fun at all the buzz, the momentum behind the industry is no joke.

“I don’t see it as a fad,” Chelsea Phillips, VP of Beyond Beer Brands at Anheuser-Busch, tells Yahoo Finance’s YFi AM.

Many consumers are looking for a lower calorie, low- to no-sugar alcoholic beverage. White Claw hard seltzer, for example, has 100 calories, while a glass of red wine or a can of beer have roughly 150 calories (and cocktails like margaritas have even more). As such, the hard seltzer industry is trying to market itself as a “healthier” option — and is seeing some success.

Assorted flavors of hard seltzer saw a 66.2% increase in sales growth year-over-year, according to a report from Nielsen. Meanwhile, the Brewer’s Association says that the overall volume growth in U.S. beer sales were down .8% in 2018.

In 2016, Anheuser-Busch (BUD) bought Spiked Seltzer, which it later renamed to Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer.

“We’re calling this 21st century alcohol because it’s solving all of the needs that currently exist in the marketplace,” Phillips tells Yahoo Finance, “opening this new landscape up for consumers...they’re looking for things that are premium and they’re looking for things that are health and wellness driven. This [Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer] checks the box on both of those things.”

Courtesy: Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer

Anheuser-Busch faces a lot of competition in the spiked seltzer market from the likes of Truly, owned by Boston Beer Co. (SAM), Constellation Brands’ (STZ) new Corona Refresca offering, and White Claw owned by Mark Anthony brands.

But Phillips, the VP of Beyond Beer Brands at Anheuser-Busch, thinks there’s still “tons of runway” left in the industry.

With new Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer flavors like mango and coconut set to hit shelves this summer, Phillips says the company is looking to tap into consumers who “didn’t go down the beer aisle” at all.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @brookedipalma.

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