Hard ciders--the next-new-thing just a year or two ago--are already in an accelerating decline. Same with Redd's Apple Ale. Any number of flavor extensions of Anheuser-Busch's Lime-a-Ritas--and desperate attempts at selling alcohol strength--aren't stemming that brand's precipitous decline. Hard sodas and root beers are hot for now, but the FMB (flavored malt beverage) business is notoriously fickle and--from Zima to Smirnoff Ice--quick to write boom-and-bust brand case histories. Today's alcohol-soda brands may well join the here-today-gone-in-a-few-years parade of failure. So, what's next?
"White Claw’s key product attributes: all natural, gluten free and low carb/low sugar, plus lower calories (110 per 12 oz) than FMBs... then carbonated natural well water, 100% natural flavors and cane sugar added...."
Now, if that lash up of low-carb and low-calorie sounds familiar, it's because these same attributes, combined with a physical-exercise zeitgeist, are driving the +20% growth of Anheuser-Busch's hottest brand these days, Michelob Ultra.
However, if a brand can begin with the leader's successful positioning, and then marshall its own distinctive product-based claims (we particularly like White Claw's carbonated natural well water), delivering an entirely new answer to the consumer need, success can be theirs.
Hard Seltzer may be this kind of product: A new refreshing natural way to celebrate the end of a workout, a golf game, or a long run.
If it is, Michelob Ultra's +20% days could be coming to an end.
*Edit: Unbeknownst to us, "SpikedSeltzer" brand ("The original") has been on the market regionally for about two years.
Here's their website.