Hard seltzer producers were among the winners of pandemic-related drinking trend shifts. With bars and restaurants closed, revelers largely took their drinking occasions outside or kept them at home, making the bulk of their alcohol purchases at stores, online, and via third-party delivery apps. Meanwhile hard seltzer sales surged, and the category continued to morph, with lemonade, punch, iced tea, and higher-ABV offshoots forming.
One question that remained unanswered during this period, though: Could that momentum continue into the on-premise — i.e., bars and restaurants — after lockdowns and capacity restrictions were lifted?
The answer appears to be a tentative if not resounding “yes,” according to a recent VinePair survey.
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Between Oct. 8-12, 2021, VinePair surveyed 779 members of its Audience Panel — a group of thousands of legal-drinking-age U.S.-based adults who are alcohol enthusiasts and/or members of the trade. Among the questions in the “Fall Sports Bars Survey,” we asked, “Is hard seltzer typically available in cans or on draft when you have gone to a sports bar in 2021?”
Of the 548 panelists who responded to this question, 56.2 percent said “yes,” 37.2 percent said they weren’t sure, and just 6.6 percent said “no.”
But despite being available in the majority of sports bars visited by the Audience Panel, hard seltzer still has strides to take in those locations from a popularity perspective. Just 2.6 percent of respondents said hard seltzer was their preferred alcoholic beverage at sports bars. Beer topped the popularity ranking (61.3 percent), followed by spirits and cocktails (27.7 percent), and wine (8.4 percent).
Though not as lightning quick as most aspects of hard seltzer’s rise, the lightly flavored, low-cal, low-carb beverage does appear to be gaining traction at sports bars. Just 8.9 percent of respondents said they drank hard seltzer at some point while watching sports at bars in fall 2019. That proportion grew to 13.2 percent for fall 2021, according to the survey.
To join VinePair’s Audience Panel and participate in future surveys, head to the following link.