Beer and seltzer dominate ads and consumption for Super Bowl LIV

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Hard seltzer products made up 20% of all online beer sales through Drizly on Super Bowl Sunday. Pic: Getty/Davizro
Hard seltzer products made up 20% of all online beer sales through Drizly on Super Bowl Sunday. Pic: Getty/Davizro

Related tags Beer Beer market Bud light Budweiser Ab inbev seltzer hard seltzer Super bowl

Million-dollar commercials, glitzy halftime performances and a championship football game all come together in one of alcohol’s biggest holidays of the year. Every year, Americans prepare for Super Bowl Sunday with more than $2bn in booze sales.

In 2019, Nielsen data revealed that Americans spent $1.2bn on beer in the two weeks before the Super Bowl, along with $568m on distilled spirits and $652m on wine. Another $1bn in beer is usually spent on game day, and it’s projected that the 2020 event netted nearly just as much.

But while big beer still rakes in the sales on Super Bowl Sunday, there has been definite competition for the major domestic brands. Flavored seltzer, cider and wine are all growing in popularity and spilling over to game day.   

“Sales of domestic premium beer in the two weeks leading up to and including last year’s Super Bowl LIII were down almost 5% from the same time-frame the year prior, suggesting a similar story for Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers,”​ Nielsen said. 

Another factor shaping Super Bowl drinking trends is Latinx purchasing power, which was especially amplified in this year's contest that was played in Miami. “The growing Latinx influence across the US is inspiring many American football fans to swap their traditional fare for imported beer and jalapeño poppers,” ​noted Nielsen before the game.

“Beer is the alcohol of choice for Super Bowl parties. Since Super Bowl I in 1967, football & beer have been inextricably linked, and there has never been a better time to be a beer consumer in the US - with more than 7,000 breweries producing tasty, exciting, innovative products in every corner of our nation.” Jim McGreevy, president/CEO, Beer Institute

In fact, it’s a trend that’s becoming evident year-round, seen most from Florida, Texas, California and New York. Sales of import beer in 2019 were up almost 4%, and Mexican beers account for 73% of imported beer sales in the US.

Mexican wine sales are also up 161.5% this year, while sales of Chilean and Argentinian wine are down (by 1.5% and 6.3%, respectively), according to Nielsen.

On-demand booze numbers

In online sales, alcohol delivery platform Drizly released sales and search information for beer and seltzer to determine how well advertisements from big brands paid off this year. New product Bud Light Seltzer was the only product that saw a significant increase in sales from 2020 Super Bowl commercials.

Sales of the fizzy beverage on Drizly increased 95% from the week of 1/12 and 55% from the week of 1/26. White Claw did not run an ad during this year's Super Bowl match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, but was still Drizly’s leading spiked seltzer product over the weekend.

The hard seltzer subcategory made up 20% of all beer sales on Drizly on Super Bowl Sunday, which was an increase from 18% the two weekends prior. Local fans in San Francisco ordered White Claw and Bud Light Seltzer the most, alongside beer from Corona, Bud Light, Sierra Nevada, Crispin and Modelo.

Local fans in Kansas City enjoyed Truly and White Claw the most in seltzer, while Bud Light, Peroni and Boulevard Brewing Company were the top selling beer brands.

Low-carb commercial commitments

Alcohol brands account for a large amount of Super Bowl TV ads every year, with the top share usually going to AB InBev due to its sponsorship deal with the NFL. Budweiser released a ‘Typical Americans’​ commercial, flipping the stereotype of US domestic beer drinkers. 

Bud Light focused on two spots​ promoting the Bud Light Seltzer, starring rapper Post Malone. It was a noticeable departure from previous years’ ‘Bud Knight’ ads, which set off months of legal trouble​ last year with Miller Lite.

Molson Coors did not run any national ads this year for Miller Lite or High Life, but ran a regional ad for Saint Archer Gold​, a low-carb beer that competes with AB InBev’s Michelob Ultra.

Michelob had two spots, promoting its flagship beer​ and the Pure Gold variety. The latter announced a commitment from the brand to sustainable farming--for every six-pack of the beer sold, Michelob Ultra will help transition six square feet of US farmland to organic.

Baseball star Alex Rodriguez announced his new role as chairman of AB InBev’s Presidente beer with a 30 second commercial. It celebrates his and the brand’s roots in the Dominican Republic.

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