Who knew that last year’s biggest beer story wouldn’t be about beer? The rise of the hard seltzer category has many craft brewers concerned that their core beers might soon be overshadowed by products like White Claw and Boston Beer’s Truly.
With the craft beer segment slowing and younger demographic abandoning beer for what they see as healthier alternatives, Hard Seltzer category has captured the pop-cultural hotness that was once craft beer’s domain….
The signs are everywhere, like it or not, craft beer is increasingly being referenced is the press as a boomer product, something one’s parents are interested in.
A recent headline at Good Beer Hunting, a prominent online beer voice read like this… OK, Boomer — U.K.’s Independent Craft Sales Stagnate as Core Drinkers Get Older.
And Brewbound, a leading beer industry site, most recent articles in January point to Hard Seltzer’s emergence. Four out of five of the featured articles were dedicated exclusively to flavored malt beverages (FMB’s in industry-speak)…. Here’s just some of the articles the beer site ran January 7th and 8th…
Brewbound’s recent coverage of hard seltzers is ‘hardly’ surprising, because that’s where the growth and action is right now…
According to IRI, a market-research firm based in Chicago, seltzers, which are lower in calories and carbs than beer as well as being gluten-free, are catching up with craft beer in terms of volume
A year ago, flavored malt beverages trailed craft beer by 25% in volume sales, according to IRI. Now, both beer and FMB’s command around 8% of the market’s volume.
And according to the Wall Street Journal that “translates to 119.2 million cases of flavored malt beverages purchased for $4 billion in 2019 compared with 114.4 million cases of craft beer bought for $4.3 billion.”
In terms of momentum there’s no escaping the numbers. Hard seltzers are hot right now while the craft beer sector is undeniably slowing.
As IRI beer, wine and spirits analyst Patrick Livingston explained in the WSJ piece “2019 was the year of hard seltzers. It was the defining factor of growth in the beer industry.”
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