Hard Seltzer Companies Keep Celebrating, Big Players Are Joining the Party, and Cheers Is Just the Beginning

By Thomas Price Saturday, November 7, 2020

Of the many different new trends in the world of recreational drinking, there is certainly none bigger right now than hard seltzer. The hard seltzer market’s meteoric rise in the last few years has been near historic to watch, as almost every company has tried to replicate a version of it after White Claw debuted. As more and more companies enter into the hard seltzer market, there is still room for it to grow. In fact, according to the projections, the hard seltzer market is not even close to its peak yet. So, how large will the industry grow, how many different brands will be tied to it, and what can be expected from the hard seltzer market in the coming years?

Hard Seltzer Market Up to Now

It is no surprise to anyone that the hard seltzer market has exploded onto the scene within the last few years. In fact, in 2019, the hard seltzer market was worth an estimated $3.83 billion. This comes after the entire industry tripled its total volume and near single-handedly reversed the global trend of declining alcohol consumption. The largest brand of hard seltzer in the market, White Claw, made an estimated $1.5 billion in sales alone in 2019. Prior to the market’s tripling of volume by the end of 2019, it had grown by over 200% in the prior year to that.

Now, in 2020, the entire industry is worth an estimated $4.5 billion, a nearly $1 billion jump from the previous year. During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, hard seltzer saw a major jump in sales in the United States compared to 2019. From March 21 to June 13, off-premise sales for the drink in the United States quadrupled year over year. This translates to an increase of nearly $900 million. A major point of consideration is the growth of the market share for hard seltzer in the beer, flavored malt beverage, cider category. In fact, hard seltzer made up more than 10% of the dollar share during that period, with projections expecting it to reach 15% before the end of 2020. The growth is set to continue at a rather astonishing pace as time goes on.

Another major factor contributing to the growth of these drinks is the massive expansion of the brands involved with creating hard seltzers now. At the beginning of 2018, there were only ten different hard seltzer brands in existence. As of June of 2020, there are over 65 different brands for consumers to choose from. This could expand even further as beverage giant Coca-Cola prepares to throw their hat in the ring. Following a partnership with Molson Coors, Coca-Cola plans to launch its first hard seltzer brand in the US under the Topo Chico brand. The company plans to launch this new brand of hard seltzer sometime in early 2021.

Hard Seltzer Market in the Future

Hard seltzer has grown to such a fast and unbelievable degree that projections for the future have been rather optimistic. Reports in 2019 have estimated that the hard seltzer market will triple in the US by 2023. Growth of this caliber would roughly equate to 281 million nine-liter cases. Global projections have even higher hopes for the market in the coming years. With the current global market being worth an estimated $4.5 billion, analysts expected a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% through 2027. At this level of expansion, the global hard seltzer market will be worth an astounding $14.5 billion by 2027, adding $10 billion of value to the industry in just seven years. Both versions of hard seltzer — below 5% alcohol by volume (ABV) and those above 5% ABV — are set to see expansion.

Final Conclusions

It is hard to fully encapsulate how quickly the hard seltzer market has grown over the past three years. However, what is known is that their market share is going up, they reversed declining alcohol consumption, and their brands have multiplied to near 100 from only 10 in 2018. With players like Coca-Cola entering a field already stacked with beverage competition, it means that there is still more growth to see. As projections reach up to nearly $15 billion within the decade, hard seltzer is going nowhere but up anytime soon.

About the Author

Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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