For drinks enthusiasts, 2019 year will surely be remembered as the year of White Claw Summer. But when future historians look back on the hard seltzer craze, 2016 will likely be regarded as year zero for the category.
White Claw, the undisputed category leader, first launched in 2016, which was also the year Boston Beer started producing Truly Hard Seltzer, another hugely successful brand. Also in 2016, Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev) acquired SpikedSeltzer, before rebranding as Bon & Viv. The brand is now the official seltzer sponsor of the NFL. Since then, A-B’s seltzer holdings have grown to also include Natural Light Seltzer, but the world’s largest beer company isn’t stopping there.
According to various sources, including Beer Business Daily, A-B plans to claim the hard seltzer crown with a new release from its top-selling beer brand: Bud Light.
Beer Business Daily reports that A-B is in the process of developing Bud Light Seltzer, as well as a range of other new releases that includes Bud Nitro, Bud Light Lemonade, Bud Light Crisp (a lower-calorie version of Bud Light), and a Stella Artois seltzer line.
Despite the widespread coverage of Bud Light’s impending hard seltzer, A-B remains tight-lipped on the launch.
Speaking to Ad Age, a spokesperson from A-B said: “We have the industry’s leading portfolio because we are never satisfied. We regularly share conceptual ideas with our wholesaler partners as we develop new ways to meet consumer needs. Details on new product launches will be shared in due course.”
While these comments are not a concrete confirmation of Bud Light Seltzer, the launch seems like a natural progression for A-B. As spiked seltzer grows, the brand’s top beers are in decline. Bud Light dollar sales dropped 5.4 percent (more than $155 million) year-to-date through July 14, 2019, while Budweiser also dropped 4.5 percent ($45 million).
Meanwhile, White Claw dominated booze sales over the Fourth of July holiday, with triple-digit sales increases of its variety pack (320 percent) and black cherry flavor (308 percent) alone.