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Spiked Seltzer Sales Soar

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Spiked Seltzer Sales Soar

Image Source: The Washington Post

“Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws!” It was the rallying call of Summer 2019. White Claw and other hard seltzers have spiked in popularity in the last year, and have become such a national phenomenon that there is currently a nationwide shortage of the beverage.

According to data by Nielsen, hard seltzer sales have increased 200 percent in the last year alone. White Claw accounts for half of those sales, and the next leading brand, Truly, takes up about 35% of the market share.

So what makes spiked seltzers so special?

MarketWatch calls it “the LaCroix effect” — the seltzer fad that has evolved over the past few years has caused huge companies to venture into sparkling beverages. Boston Brewing Company, Anheuser-Busch, Smirnoff and other massive alcoholic beverage companies have branched out and created Truly Spiked Seltzers, Bon & Viv, and Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer, respectively. In the past few weeks, PBR, Natural Light and Four Loko have announced that they will be releasing their own versions. PBR and Natty Lite, two American frat boy favorites, are marketing on the side of affordability. Four Loko teased their release on social media, tweeting “Hard Seltzers ran so we could fly” with a picture of a can marked 14% (!!!) alcohol. Everyone is trying to capitalize on the craze, and it’s working.

Hard seltzers are also a healthier alternative to beer. Each can of White Claw contains 100 calories at about 5% alcohol, with flavors like black cherry, mango, natural lime, raspberry and pure (which Delish describes as “basically vodka soda in a can”). Most spiked seltzer brands range from about 70-140 calories per can. Hard seltzers are also lower in carbs and sugars than other alcoholic drinks. With millennials more health-conscious than ever, the drink stands out as an easy substitute.

The cultural impact on sales has been critical to the beverage’s success. White Claw specifically has become a phenomenon across social media, with new memes surfacing daily. It has become associated with frat bros and a lifestyle of partying, but in a tongue-in-cheek fashion; millennials have found the humor in embracing the brand and what it promotes. YouTuber Trevor Wallace’s video titled “*drinks White Claw once*” has garnered millions of views poking fun at White Claw consumers’ obsession with the drink, and inspired the “ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws” mantra. (My favorite line from the video: “It’s like a Four Loko that went to private school.” Genius.)

Spiked seltzers have become a national sensation for many reasons, but when it comes down to it, it’s just plain funny. Between major brands jumping on the bandwagon, the appearance of a healthier alternative, and meme culture, hard seltzers have landed in the sweet spot of the millennial experience. Drinking a White Claw has become a symbol of good times, self-aware jokes, and embracing branding. The hard seltzer experience goes above and beyond what the drink is — it exemplifies the consumer’s willingness to buy into a brand’s image. So drink up and party on, people!

Posted by Kristin