Consumers in the U.S. purchased close to $1 billion in hard seltzer from March 7 to May 30, 2020, the first three months of the pandemic, compared to $1.5 billion for the whole of 2019, according to Nielsen. In the week ending June 6, the start of the summer season, hard seltzer sales—which have been on the rise for the past few years—grew 255%. The same optimistic trends are occurring globally, with Grandview Research predicting that sales of hard seltzer worldwide will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% from 2020 to 2027, with sales reaching $14.5 billion worldwide by the end of the period.
As a result, alcohol brands of all sizes and types are introducing new products into this segment. And some are starting to align with third party IP, with examples ranging from local collaborations to mainstream licensing deals:
- Hard Rock International, represented by Broad Street Licensing Group, licensed Stewart’s Enterprises for a range of Hard Rock premium hard seltzer, in a deal announced late last month. The line is debuting in time for the holidays. It includes flavors inspired by Hard Rock signature cocktails, each of which comes in a can featuring the Hard Rock guitar logo.
- The MoCoShow, a hyperlocal news brand in Montgomery County, Maryland, paired with Denizens Brewing Co., based in Silver Spring, for a hard seltzer that debuted in May. The MoCoShow’s distribution platform includes a podcast, a website, and a social presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The summer seltzer was marketed under the MoCo Goes Hard brand, featured flavors such as lime and blood orange, and was available at Denizens and some retail outlets within the county.
- Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices, a chain of shops that got its start in Staten Island, New York, and now has locations across New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey, paired with Staten Island-based Flagship Brewing Co. for a line of collaborative hard seltzer that debuted in mid-May for the summer season. The product came in a variety 12-pack encompassing three Italian ice flavors: orange creamsicle, lemon, and watermelon. Sold at local supermarkets, restaurants, and convenience stores, the limited edition sold out quickly. The brewery has said it might add the product to its year-round offering.
The popularity of hard seltzer has also led to at least one outbound collaboration involving a leading brand in the category. In June, Truly partnered with New York City-based alcohol-infused ice cream shop Tipsy Scoop, which sells its products in its own locations and to retailers across the country, mostly on the East Coast. Tipsy’s Truly range encompasses four flavors—strawberry lemonade and mango lemonade sorbet and original lemonade and black cherry lemonade ice cream—sold in variety packs with and without the original beverage. The sweet treat contains 5% alcohol by volume, the same as a can of Truly hard seltzer. Truly had a 21.8% share of the seltzer market in March of this year, according to Guggenheim Analysts, second only to White Claw’s 58.6% share.