Last summer, a.k.a. the summer of hard seltzer, starred the juggernaut that is White Claw. While White Claw Summer turned out to be a massive success that transcends seasons, summer 2020 has seen an explosion of newcomers to the seltzer category.

There’s no denying the hard seltzer category is rapidly evolving beyond the initial flavored malt beverage base. The big players in the category are still big, but new versions of the basic formula of alcoholic seltzer abound, from spirits brands creating canned versions of their products mixed with seltzer, to a range of wine-based hard seltzers, to the many small breweries releasing new takes on the phenomenon.

This week on the VinePair Podcast, Adam Teeter, Erica Duecy, and Zach Geballe discuss some of these new innovations, as well as how some brands are choosing to affiliate themselves with a particular lifestyle or even subculture. Also, why hard seltzer is a must for many major alcohol brands.

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Adam: From Brooklyn, New York, I’m Adam Teeter.

Erica: From Connecticut, I’m Erica Duecy.

Zach: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.

A: And this is the VinePair Podcast. Before we get into today’s banter, a word from this week’s sponsor. Cognac USA, Speed Rack, and us, VinePair, are thrilled to offer 10 $1,000 scholarship prizes exclusively for professional bartenders. To enter to win these prizes, all you have to do is create an original Cognac cocktail and join virtual events in the next few months. I mean, dude, I love Cognac cocktails so I think I would, I mean if I was a professional bartender I would totally enter. To enter though, you just visit cognacconnection.com for details. The deadline to enter is Aug. 31. That’s cognacconnection.com. Also, some legal stuff, the campaign’s financed with aid from the European Union.

Z: And if you don’t know how to spell Cognac its C-O-G-N-A-C.

A: I love that you’re coming in hot with the help on the ad just to tell you how to spell Cognac.

Z: I’m just saying, you’d be surprised how many people misspell it.

A: That’s true. I think, I mean it’s going to be a dope competition. And look, if you’re entering don’t just make a Sazerac.

Z: That is decidedly not an original creation.

A: Exactly. Or like a riff on a Sazerac, I mean to say. Anyway, guys, you know lots of really great feedback from last week’s clean wine episode. More clean wine bullshit out there, too.

E: Oh my god, it just keeps going.

Z: I feel like we opened Pandora’s box by doing a podcast about it because now everyone is sending me every last article they find and I’m, like “Ugh, the scourge upon the earth that has been unleashed.”

A: I mean, I do think it’s all coming to a head, right? It’s the beast that won’t stop. And it’s kind of taking all of these sort of unregulated terms along with it. I think it’s making a lot of people look at the industry and be like, “Wow, yeah, there are a lot of ways we used to label this beverage that basically had zero meaning.” And maybe we should look at that regulation. But now, you even have people that are taking things that you actually can regulate and redefining them. I mean, I know Erica’s aware of this because we were discussing on the Slack channel today, maybe, Zach, you saw it, too, but that company Clean Wines, or whatever the hell they’re called, they’re actually using DOC certification stuff as a reason to say that they’ve done the research on these wines, that they’re clean. And I’m like, “That’s not what these certifications are for.” But they’re just bamboozling consumers. “Oh, well there’s a certification on it so it’s definitely better for you because it says DOCG.”

E: Yeah, it says, so it was Good Clean Wine, and they said, “Each of our wines carries certifications to be classified as either an IGT DOC or IGP wine.” Yeah, no. That has nothing to do with this matter. Sorry, where are you coming up with this?

Z: I think it just speaks to what we talked about last week, which is there is this incredible vacuum of public understanding of wine and especially when it comes to European wine. What any of those acronyms even mean and what they do and do not indicate about a wine and it’s a real easy vacuum for people to fill with just endless mountains of bullshit and that’s what’s happening.

E: That’s exactly what’s happening.

A: So you know what this reminds me of, Zach you may recall this as well, growing up as a Jewish kid in Alabama, my family wasn’t kosher but anything that I saw that was kosher I’d be like, “Yeah, that’s ours!” And so do you remember the campaign that was Hebrew National Hot Dogs and they’re like, “We answer to a higher authority”?

Z: I do.

A: And they basically we’re just like, “Yeah, we’re certified kosher.” They never said that they meant the hot dogs were better for you or cleaner but that’s basically what they were saying and the hot dogs exploded across the American market. Tons of people bought them because they thought they were cleaner and better. I don’t know, maybe that slaughterhouse did a better job, although it’s a hot dog at the end of the day, right? How much cleaner is it than other hot dogs? But this is exactly what this campaign reminded me of, it’s like we have a certification that actually has nothing to do with how we’re going to use that certification. But because we have our certification we’re going to make you think that that matters more than the other wines that don’t. It’s just hilarious, they should’ve just been like, “Clean Wines, we answer to the Italian bureaucracy with DOCG certification.”

Z: “We answer to a higher authority that Italians themselves don’t pay attention to half the time.”

A: Anyways, yeah that’s been fun to continue to watch this thing spiral out of control. Anyways, that’s not today’s topic, today’s topic is instead the continued, I know we’ve talked about it a good bit over the past few months, but the continued runaway train expansion of the hard seltzer category with so many brands jumping in. It seems like now no matter where you are in the classic wine, beer, or spirits space you are paying attention to this category, right? We have wineries jumping in within wine-based hard seltzers, we have beer, even craft beer, producers with their own versions of flavored malt beverages, and then you have spirits companies jumping in and then today, Thursday, July 30, you had Coca-Cola announce that they’re releasing a hard seltzer under their brand Topo Chico, which is just unbelievable, right? So everyone’s jumping in and I think it’s just insane. So, Erica, we’re actually publishing a story tomorrow about this, correct?

E: Yeah, definitely. So, Courtney Schiessl, who is an amazing writer who I love working with, she and I have been chatting about this on and off for months, and the article that’s going to be coming out is looking at the massive evolution of this category. This is something that, last year, the entire category was worth $500 million. This year, if you just look at the past 52 weeks it has already hit $2.7 billion in off-premise sales. And I saw a report this morning saying that hard seltzer sales are now predicted to $14.5 billion by 2027. The compound growth rate of this segment of the beverage alcohol industry is stunning. I think they’re saying 16.2 percent growth, compound annual growth rate, from 2020 to 2027. That is stunning considering that everything else is essentially flat or down. So this is the runaway train that we are going to see quickly evolving and going in new directions and those are the things that we’re going to be exploring.

A: Well, look, there’s a reason Anthony von Mandl, the owner of Mark Anthony brands who owns White Claw, is now the 40th richest man in the world.

E: Wow.

Z: You’re saying it wasn’t all Mike’s Hard Lemonade that did that?

A: No. Although you know that that’s also actually a billion-dollar brand. Which I never, never thought about that. I always thought, “Oh, who drinks Mike’s Hard Lemonade?” And then I was talking to Josh recently about it and he was like, “Did you know that it’s actually a billion-dollar brand?” I looked it up and it is, and I was like, whoa, I never would have thought that.

Z: Yeah, you would think, I guess teenagers have a lot of money.

A: Yeah, I mean, teenagers and yeah, I guess, who else is drinking Mike’s. Although I’ve started paying attention to Tik Tok, I’m Tok-ing, and there’s a lot of Mike’s Hard Lemonade on Tik Tok. So this is why I think it’s interesting, there’s only three really alcohols you see on Tik Tok all the time. You see White Claw as a brand, you see all other hard seltzers, mostly I would say it leans into Truly, and then you see 1942 Don Julio. That’s really all you see. I mean you see some wine but it’s not the same, usually it’s just someone holding a glass, they’re not really showing you the brand in the same way, I guess. Do you know what I mean? I mean if someone is saying they’re drinking wine, you just see wine in a glass; they’re not usually pouring that brand and showing you what the brand is. But when it comes to hard seltzer they’re very much showing. I think it’s amazing the amount of loyalty to both the category consumers feel right now and loyalty to the brand they’re choosing is something we’ve never seen before. And it’s happened this fast, you know? I think you had the beer wars between Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Bud Light evolved over a decade or decades of them really going to war and telling you to do these taste tests and pick one over the other. The war over what it means to choose a Truly compared to what it means to choose a White Claw — Truly has positioned themselves as anti-bro, White claw has positioned themselves to be super bros — is really interesting that it happened that fast.

E: Yeah. Definitely.

A: So I think the innovation that you’re talking about, Erica, is interesting because there’s innovation that’s happening both on the liquid side, lots of liquid innovation, and there’s massive marketing innovation. And the way that people are talking about these beverages and the way they’re playing around to get these beverages in front of consumers and doing creative marketing campaigns and influencer outreach and videos and songs and stuff like that is something that we also haven’t seen before at this speed. And the amount of money, usually when there’s a new category of alcohol or even just an emerging brand of alcohol, usually what you hear from the producer is that they’re not going to really spend very heavily against it, right? So they’re just going to see what happens in the market. Do we gain a little bit of foothold just organically and then maybe we’ll slowly grow. Especially in the way of craft beer, right? Most of these bigger craft breweries never spent on marketing, it was all about word of mouth. But in this category you have people launching brands and committing to six- and seven-figure spends on marketing almost immediately upon launch of the brand because they realize that’s what it’s going to take now and because there are so many brands in the space. But that’s not stopping anyone from launching new stuff, which I just think is amazing.

E: Yeah. Definitely.

Z: So a thought that occurred to me: I was talking to my stepfather the other day who doesn’t drink and he was asking me, “Do you guys ever talk about cider?” And I was like, “No, we talk about hard seltzer instead.” And this is what was supposed to happen to cider but on every kind of steroid you can imagine, where it was this sort of new category, it was going to capture a different segment of the drinking public that had maybe been ignored or at least not fully catered to. But I think the fascinating thing — and I want to get your thoughts on a couple of these specific ones because I’m really curious — as the category radiates out from what I think we would have defined a year ago as what is hard seltzer, meaning very low cal, some sort of fruit flavor and alcohol and now we’re getting into the sort of cocktail seltzers, wine seltzers, all this other stuff, do we think that what is the selling point for it at this point is the connection to this now-established category, or is it really about more the ease of use? Because I think this is the theme that’s fascinating to me, is it really the can, or is it the category that matters?

E: For me, I think convenience is definitely one of the drivers but then I think it’s also that “better for you” trend, right? So we know millennials are not drinking as much as those of us who came before but they’re drinking better. And when you’re looking at the trends of health and wellness and also the variety-seeking behavior and also some level of premiumization. It supports that there’s this growth of the hard seltzer category that is going to go so much further than where we are now, and we’re already starting to see that. So for example, one of the breakout hits of the summer has been High Noon, which is a vodka-based hard seltzer. We’re starting to see other vodka seltzers like Keel Sparkling, tequila-based hard seltzers like Volley Spiked seltzer. Those RTDs, I think, are kind of the next evolution. So we have this initial burst of brands that are really going out with this malt beverage but doing the very clever marketing around the calories and the carb counts. But then I think people, millennials especially, will wise up and say, “Malt beverage, I don’t know if that’s for me, what’s the healthier alternative?” And that’s when they’re going to start going down the road of the High Noons and the Volley Spiked Seltzer. Not because it is, by virtue of anything, better for you, but because they feel like it’s better for you.

A: And you can see, Zach, which I think is interesting, in this hard seltzer category let’s say we say hard seltzer as its own, right, and then let’s break it down into three. Let’s say that one is spirits-based, so that’s the High Noons Erica’s talking about, and then one is FMB — that’s what is really leading the charge. Truly and White Claw together have over 60 percent of the market, maybe it’s even 70, they have a lot of the market,which is why Boston Beer’s stock right now is valued at $1,000 a share, and then you have now the wine-based seltzers, right? And each one of them are also kind of following this marketing playbook that I alluded to, or mentioned not even alluded to, earlier with how Truly and White Claw are facing off, right? And so you see that as well in spirits-based. So High Noon has really leaned into a brand many people would say is extremely toxic, Barstool Sports. But that has become the brand they have aligned themselves with and it’s a very heavily bro-based brand. And then you have other spirits-based spiked seltzers like Two Chicks and some of the brands that Erica’s mentioned that are going for the higher-end audience and saying they’re for the non-bros, for people that are just interested in that purity that Erica’s talking about. And I think that hasn’t happened yet in wine but I think you’ll see that as well. I’m curious to see which wine brand will create kind of the bro-tastic, let’s not even say bro, what we really mean is frat-tastic party brand and which one will then be sort of the foil to that brand. It’s interesting that that’s how it’s playing out, it’s like Sharks and Jets among seltzers and what you drink kind of defines who you are. And I think that’s interesting to the brands who are willing to do that because they realize these audiences are so big. Because usually you wouldn’t align yourself with a brand like Barstool because you would assume it would turn off so much of the population who is sick of the misogyny and their racist behavior but there’s such an audience who is still there that High Noon says, “We’ll just take this audience and that’ll be ours and we don’t care if we lose anyone else.” And someone else turns around and says, “Cool, we’ll take everyone else.” That’s what’s happening sort of in these seltzer wars which is really crazy. I mean we had the cola wars in the ’90s and we’re literally going to have the seltzer wars.

Z: I wonder if, you know, you talked about sort of what’s happening with this sort of face-off mentality, the sort of, you know, you’re going to align yourself with a particular brand. Do you think what we saw happen — you were talking about not just the cola wars in the ’90s, which for those of you who are too young to remember it was Pepsi and Coke, you might have heard of them.

A: Coke won.

Z: Yes, well yeah. And we talked about the sort of light beer three battle between Miller, Coors, and Bud Light, but I wonder if this category and just the mentality of the public at this time, do we think that what’s happening now is what’s going to continue to happen? Which is that there’s going to always be newcomers on the scene. I wonder if a year ago we were talking about, “Wow, is White Claw going to rule everything?” And I think they still do. As you pointed out, Adam, they control, or they and Truly control, a huge share of the market at the moment. But I do think that the thing that’s different about the public now as opposed to 25 years ago, is I think a lot of people don’t necessarily want to identify themselves with what feels like a behemoth of a brand. There’s always going to be a segment of the population that wants to try not just something new but sort of the underdog, I guess is how I would put it, and does that kind of mesh with how you guys see the landscape shaking out, that there’s going to be room for smaller producers? Because I know when we last talked about hard seltzer, one of my questions was, is there ever going to be space for quote-unquote craft in this category? And I don’t know if we know that yet but maybe we’re starting to find that out.

E: Oh yeah. I definitely think so. I mean look at what we’re already seeing. You know, Ramona, which is owned by Jordan Salcito, she was a somm who came from Momofuku and then started this spritz brand that is very focused on quality. They’re very transparent about their practices. And then we have Hoxie, another wine-based spritz. Valerie Masten, who was previously at Skurnik, she’s at the helm. These people are super focused on quality and transparency, and making a really awesome product. But the interesting thing that I’ve seen these brands do, particularly Ramona, is that they didn’t used to market the calorie counts and carb counts and all that. But now they are, and I think they are saying, “OK, hey hard seltzer drinkers who do not want to identify with these bigger brands, we’re here for you. We are a 90-calorie product. And we are organic and sustainable.” And all of these types of messages that they are giving, I think that’s just the beginning. So we’re going to keep going down that path where the amount of complexity and differentiation we’re going to see in this category is going to be huge. I think two years from now, four years from now, it’s going to look entirely different and it’s going to be just as big as the craft brewing explosion that we saw in previous decades.

A: Yeah and I think the reason for that is because, to make a hard seltzer isn’t that difficult now for any of these brands, right? So craft brewers can really easily add seltzer to their repertoire. Who knows, maybe we’ll start seeing like hazy hard seltzers, wouldn’t that be crazy? But they could easily add that kind of stuff. And then in the wine brands too … a lot of them were slow to move to cans but now most of them are, so now they’ve kind of realized what it means to have a canning apparatus, add now a beverage where you’re just putting some of your wine and mixing it with seltzer water and adding some sugar and flavoring, it is a lot easier for them to get in. And then yes, people will start to diversify. Pretty recently, I think it was yesterday, the Wine Economist tweeted basically a chart that shows who the largest wine companies in the world are. And it said the largest four suppliers, which are Gallo, Constellation, The Wine Group, and Trinchero, control 60 percent of the market. Which is pretty normal, I mean, that’s not as bad as beer, actually. Only two really control 60 percent of the market. So I think in every space of alcohol you’ll see two, three, four brands or companies that will control a large share of the market and they’ll have lots of offerings in that share of the market, and then you’ll have everyone behind them who have a very good business and a decent amount of people who are buying from them and some of them will be other less craft-focused brands and some will be more focused crafts brands. And I think as this category continues to explode, as Erica’s saying, that definitely is a continued possibility because I think what people are attracted to about the category is that it is light, refreshing, etc., and it reminds them of things that came before. I think, you know, the Aperol Spritz, we’ve talked about this before, but the Aperol Spritz has a lot to do with the explosion of this category. Just regular seltzer in general has a lot do with the explosion of this category in general. Consumers were kind of primed to find something like this, for something like this to be given to them, and then fully embrace it.

E: Yeah and Aperol right now is way down because of on-premise not being around. Why doesn’t Aperol have an RTD? Why haven’t they done that yet?

A: Campari, if you’re listening, you should have an RTD fast.

E: Dude, you need an RTD way fast because people would drink it; there’s great brand recognition. After all the Aperol Spritz that we’ve been drinking over the past probably five years, that would crush.

A: Crush.

Z: And I think the other part of this is, and it feeds into another piece of this, which is we are living in an off-premise world and I think we are going to be living in an off-premise world for a while still, and if you are a brand, whether it’s Aperol or many others, that has relied traditionally on a lot of on-premise sales and just that driving the identity of your brand, I don’t know if you can afford to wait around another year before that starts coming back. Because, spoiler warning, that’s my projection on how long it’s going to take at a minimum. And I think you have to capitalize on your recognition and your name ID now and get yourself in front of people in the format that they’re most comfortable with. And the honest truth is a lot of people in this country, even if it’s really simple to put Aperol in a glass and put sparkling wine in there, are much more likely to drink your product if it’s in a can and all they have to do is open it.

A: Totally.

Z: Especially, if it’s in a mixed case with a Negroni spritz and something else that you whip up.

A: I mean, I completely agree with you. And look, I think this is a little bit of a segue here but you brought it up in terms of the next year, which I think you’re right, Zach, if not longer. But you know I was very angered by this interview, but I heard an interview with Mark Cuban two or three days ago and he was being interviewed.

Z: You’re not getting your Shark Tank interview anytime soon.

A: No, that’s fine or my court-side seats to the Mavericks, but that’s cool, too. But basically he was talking about the way he looks at investments and the way people change preferences, so he’s like, “Look, it’s really shitty that all these restaurants are about to go under or that all these bars are suffering but because they’re about to go under or bar’s suffering, doesn’t mean people aren’t drinking or aren’t eating, they’re finding new ways to drink and new ways to eat.” And we’ve talked about this before, it takes six to eight weeks for things like that to become a habit so you know how much longer might it take for bars and restaurants to fully come back because people have just started to realize, “Man, I make really good bread at home, why was I buying this out?” Or, “I figured out that I can make a really good steak,” or “I can bring really good wine or really good cocktails, or things like that.” And so I think while it’s a year, for sure, until it even feels like we feel comfortable going and sitting at all, it could be five to 10 years before we’re back to any level like we were at six months ago. And in all that time seltzers are just going to become more and more and more dominant. Or this RTD category that Erica’s really talking about, is going to become more and more dominant because it’s going to be about being out with your friends, the convenience of those products, the ability to go to the park. You know, it’s really nuts here, I’m curious for you, Zach, what Seattle feels like. Erica, I’m not going to ask you because you’re in Connecticut. But New York City feels like Europe right now. The weekends it feels like Europe, it’s really crazy. You go to the parks and they are crowded with people, whether that’s a good or a bad thing, but they’re all picnicking and bringing drinks and every time I look at what people are drinking and I see a ton of seltzer because it’s easy. That portability is really easy and I think if you’re seeing that, too, in Seattle or people are seeing that in D.C. or Atlanta or wherever else they live who listen to the podcast, I think you’re going to see that continue because people are realizing what’s so beautiful about that and what people in Europe have liked about that for decades, and may have gotten used to that and saying, “Well, you know, maybe I don’t want to go and do this at a bar or restaurant every weekend anymore. Maybe that’s my splurge once a month instead of every Friday and Saturday night.” Do you know what I mean?

Z: Absolutely. I mean, yes, I am definitely seeing that in Seattle. I think the thing you see is a combination of people in parks and other public spaces and then you also sort of see just, you know, where I live, you definitely have lots of people who have some outdoor space of their own, a backyard or front yard or something like that, and people are in those or even a rooftop. And it’s just, most things are in cans because you know there’s a reason why it’s been the dominant thing for a lot of beer brands, because it’s easy, it keeps cold pretty well, and you can keep it in your fridge pretty easily. You know a bottle of wine is cumbersome and if it’s got a cork in it and you don’t have a corkscrew with you you’re kind of stuck and certainly bottles of spirits you have to mix together are not something someone’s going to. I might take them on a picnic but most people won’t.

A: Yeah, I won’t.

Z: I would pre-batch, let’s be honest. But yeah, the point is for a lot of people that want those flavors, the can is really the only way they’re going to be willing to go in on it if they’re not willing to have someone else make it for them. So yeah, if you’re out there and you’ve got a brand and you’re not thinking long and hard about how to get your product in a can I feel like you’re missing the boat.

E: Absolutely.

A: It’s like the people in the music industry who were saying, “We don’t need to do MP3s, we’re still doing CDs.” You know what I mean, it’s just coming faster than we’ve ever seen it come before and if you’re not thinking long and hard about how you’re putting your wine in cans or your just RTD product or whatever, or your Aperol and your listening to the podcast right now and you don’t have Aperol Spritz in development right now to roll out very soon in a can, you’re missing something because no one’s going to bring a bottle of Aperol, a bottle of Prosecco, and a bottle of sparkling water to the park. I don’t see it. And I think that’s why we’ve also seen much less of that consumption this summer because it’s great to drink it when it’s at the bar and you don’t have to worry about having those three simple ingredients, as Zach says, but it’s much different when you’re like, “OK, how would I batch this?” Because first of all, that means I have to pop the bottle of Prosecco, so is it going to get flat on its way to me taking it to the park? If I don’t, then I’m bringing three things, so what happens when, obviously, the sparkling water and the Prosecco run out before the Aperol or vice versa, how does that work? It becomes too much for people.

Z: Yeah and then you grab a White Claw.

A: Exactly. Because you’re like I’m just looking for flavored bubbles.

E: Exactly. And just think about as soon as it gets cold out people will have spent this entire summer experimenting with different brands seeing what they like, they will have found a couple of things that they really like and we’ve seen this massive rise of at-home cocktails but that will continue on. But to be honest, a lot of people are just lazy and just want a drink at the end of the day and those White Claws, Truly’s, etc. are just going to be popped open. And the cocktail may become more of a special thing that you are maybe not making every day. Who knows? But I think that people will have spent this entire summer testing and trying out the different brands that are in their markets. Literally, when I’ve gone into liquor stores that’s where people are gathered – in front of the hard seltzer. They’re trying them all and at the end of the day, that’s going to be the go-to probably in a lot of cases instead of a beer or a glass of wine.

A: Yeah, it is. It’s crazy. It’s really crazy. And look, for me I still haven’t found my hard seltzer that I love, it’s just really not my thing as much.

E: I’ll tell you mine.

A: What’s yours?

E: OK, so I like the Ramona Dry Grapefruit, which is the driest version that they’re making. And then I also am super excited about my new at-home drink, Ranch Water, which we are now all drinking. It’s just a tequila soda with a bunch of lime juice. Now there are three new Ranch Waters out on the market that I’ve just read about, that I’m going to try. Super excited to try them. But I think that that type of thing – an easy product that you can pop open, they’re just getting better and better.

A: Yeah, I haven’t had a lot. Have you had any, Zach, that you like or that you would reach for?

Z: I actually, it’s funny that Erica said the Ramona Dry Grapefruit because that’s actually the one I’ve had most recently that I’ve really liked as well. It’s definitely an area that I will freely admit I need to explore more. Those of you listening that want to send me some samples, do it. I will give them a try. But yeah, I think what Erica said is a really good point, which is that we are at this phase of expansion that is really exciting where some really interesting ideas are taking hold, where really quality producers who are, not to say anything about the quality of some of the existing products but a lot of it is aimed at a mass market, but some of the more niche products are starting to hit the market, I would be interested in trying more of those. And just in general getting a sense for, I like sparkling things, I like bubbly things, so it’s definitely a category I have interest in and I think as you get more quality and more diversity in there I am sure that I will find a few that I will like. I’ve even sort of convinced my wife that we can buy them, it’s OK. She drinks so much sparkling water and sparkling wine, I’m just like, this is just a nice midpoint for the two of us. Because sometimes I don’t want to drink wine, as hard as that is to believe.

A: See for me, again yes, if you listen to the podcast, if you have some hard seltzer let us know. Email us at podcasts@vinepair.com, we’ll give it a try and we’ll let you know what we think at a later date. I am curious. I have yet to find one that I completely love. I’ve had Willy’s Superbrew. I’ve liked it but I think what’s also been really crazy to watch over the summer is the way just the term seltzer has completely morphed. We went to the park recently and met up with my cousin and his fiancée and we were sitting down, it was the middle of the day on a Sunday, and my wife and I day drink but we weren’t in the mood and they asked us if we wanted seltzer and both of us were like “no, no, no we don’t want seltzer right now,” and they were like no, it’s seltzer seltzer. We’re like, “Oh, yeah, thanks.” The fact that, to us, that’s what seltzer meant at this point is like yeah, its alcoholic is just absolutely insane and speaks to how much this category has taken over just in the last year.

Z: Yeah it’s a behemoth.

E: Just going to get bigger and bigger.

A: Just going to get bigger and bigger. We’ll check in about this again as time goes on. Maybe this fall when someone’s released a pumpkin spice seltzer.

Z: You predicted this last year and I was horrified.

A: It’s going to happen, I promise you it’s going to happen. You’re going to get a pumpkin spice seltzer and some sort of peppermint latte spice, you know what I mean? You know like some peppermint seltzer, I promise you. It’s for sure coming, there’s no way someone’s not trying or someone hasn’t already tried it and just has it ready to launch at the end of August, I’m convinced.

Z: Just as long as we don’t get a turkey and gravy one, I’m good.

A: That would be so gross. So anyway, if you have thoughts about this podcast hit us up at podcasts@vinepair.com, we’d love to hear what you think. If you have any other questions let us know as well and as always it really helps if you can leave a review, a rating, etc., and tell your friends, family, people you’d not even know walking on the sidewalk about the show. It really helps us get the word out there and more people discover what we’re up to. And Zach, Erica, before I say goodbye, let’s hit them with one more ad. Alright, bartenders, enter the Cognac Connection challenge to win a $1,000 scholarship. We’re giving away 10 of them. The deadline is Aug. 31, go to cognacconnection.com as Zach said, you spell that C-O-G-N-A-C-C-O-N-N-E-C-T-I-O-N.com to enter and for all the details. Thanks so much. See you guys next week.

Z: Sounds great.

E: Bye.

A: Thanks so much for listening to the VinePair Podcast. If you enjoy listening to us every week, please leave us a review or rating on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever it is that you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show. Now, for the credits. VinePair is produced and hosted by Zach Geballe, Erica Duecy and me: Adam Teeter. Our engineer is Nick Patri and Keith Beavers. I’d also like to give a special shout- out to my VinePair co-founder Josh Malin and the rest of the VinePair team for their support. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll see you again right here next week.

Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.