White Claw expands reach with the Kentucky Derby

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hard seltzer sales rose by 169% last year, and volume sales were up by 181%.
Hard seltzer sales rose by 169% last year, and volume sales were up by 181%.

Related tags: hard seltzer, white claw, fmbs, Alcoholic beverages

White Claw has become the first hard seltzer product to partner with the Kentucky Derby.

White Claw has a 54% share of the US hard seltzer industry, and is now partnering with the Kentucky Derby as an official sponsor, offering its core line and limited edition products to the more than 160,000 attendees at Derby day. 

The drink will be sold at all related Derby events at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It has created custom White Claw-branded scarves and pocket squares, to be handed out to fans onsite. There will also be a designated White Claw area at the race, and a custom White Claw Snapchat filter.

White Claw is described as a blend of their proprietary gluten free BrewPure alcohol, seltzer water and a hint of fruit with an ABV of 5% and 100 calories per 12oz can.

Earlier this month, White Claw debuted its latest flavor innovation Pure​. The brand referred to it as an ‘anti-flavor’ as it has no discernable taste like the the rest of its core line. Rather, it’s meant to be used as a base for other mixed drinks, or as an alternative to vodka soda.

Sanjiv Gajiwala, senior VP of marketing at White Claw, said "While many other hard seltzer brands continue to release more complicated flavors, we know consumers love the clean, refreshing taste of White Claw and identified an opportunity to launch a hard seltzer in its simplest form with White Claw Pure Hard Seltzer."

Hard seltzer growth

Hard seltzer has taken off in the flavored malt beverages (FMBs) and flavored alcoholic beverages (FABs) space, particularly in the last few years. On Super Bowl Sunday in February, hard seltzer sales tripled for watch parties compared to 2016, and it’s expected to be a popular drink in the coming warm summer months.

Alcoholic, flavored seltzers are starting to emerge as their own category in direct competition with beer, similar to hard cider. Nielsen data revealed that women are 21% more likely to drink hard cider most often compared to other adult beverages.

The data said in general, women tend to drink more wine, spirits, FABs and ciders than men, and the female demographic has driven the hard seltzer explosion. Hard seltzer sales rose by 169% last year, and volume sales were up by 181% according to Nielsen.

The Brewers Association (BA), representing craft beermakers, recently changed its definition of a craft brewer to include those making a variety of alcoholic drinks, including hard ciders, sodas and seltzers. In a survey, a majority of BA members said they planned to make drinks other than beer within the next 3-5 years.

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