This is a good question. Now that we know that hard seltzer is made in a similar way to beer, based on a question I was asked a few weeks ago, and that several are made by the very same breweries that make some of the country’s most popular beers, why wouldn’t they use the same style of packaging? The answer is marketing.
One of the main drivers of hard seltzer’s popularity is its low-calorie content. The liquid delivers about the same amount of alcohol as a domestic lager (or a little higher, around 5 percent ABV), with a calorie count at or under 100. This allows for hard seltzer brands to take advantage of the health halo effect, appealing to drinkers who want a bit of a buzz, but who are also concerned about their LBs and the drink’s ABV.
Although most hard seltzers are lower in calories than most beers, this isn’t always the case. For example, a 12-ounce can of White Claw has only 100 calories, but a 12-ounce can of Miller Lite has an even slimmer 96.
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In short, the skinny can is a subtle marketing cue that the liquid inside is lower in calories, since we often associate things that are thin with being healthier. Crazy, right?