Guest podcast: Rabobank Liquid Assets

Hard seltzer storms the light beer fortress

By Rabobank

- Last updated on GMT


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Hard seltzer brands like White Claw and Truly have stormed onto the scene: injecting growth, excitement, and more than a little anxiety into the struggling US beer industry. Can big brewers win marketshare from 'big seltzer' with their own brands? This guest podcast from Rabobank explores where the seltzer category could go next.

Light and bubbly, and imminently 'sessionable,' hard seltzer has become a category unto itself. Its viral popularity offers big brewers an opportunity to draw female consumers away from the wine & spirits category – something they’ve struggled to achieve for decades. But, in order to do so, they face an unfamiliar challenge: Can they capture market share from 'big seltzer?'

With the US summer coming to an end, a summer some observers dubbed "White-Claw Summer," it is high time to discuss the greatest disruption to thee beer industry since the start of the craft beer boom: Hard Seltzer.

Top brands like White Claw and Truly have taken huge marketshare, injecting growth into the struggling mainstream beer segment - Boston Beer, the maker of Truly and the largest non-Yuengeling craft brewer in the world, now sells more seltzer than they do beer.

But why are consumers so excited about seltzers and is hard seltzer just another ephemeral phenomenon in the boom-bust cycle of flavored malt beverages? And lastly, can big brewers win marketshare from "big seltzer" by launching their own seltzer brands and using the big-beer playbook (sponsorships, superbowl ads and far-reaching distribution)? 

This episode explores:

1. Why is hard seltzer so popular, and who is drinking it?
2. Where is the growth from hard seltzer coming from - is it hurting beer sales or boosting the beer industry?
3. How are big brewers like ABI and Constellation capitalizing on the Hard Seltzer Opportunity
4. What does the precipitous rise of hard seltzer teach us about innovation and how can CEOs and senior management prepare for the next disruption?

This podcast is hosted by Rabobank’s global beverage strategist Stephen Rannekleiv, senior analyst Jim Watson and analyst Bourcard Nesin.

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