AB InBev’s big play into the US alcoholic seltzer market – Bud Light Seltzer – is already the No.3 brand in the booming category within weeks of launching.
According to sales data from Nielsen, White Claw is at No.1 and holds around 60% of the market, followed by Truly from Boston Beer at No.2, then Bud Light Seltzer at No.3 with a bullet.
That’s been helped by its massive distribution – it’s available in twice as many stores within weeks of being released compared its competitors during their first year of launch.
It also got a huge push via two Super Bowl ads that were released ahead of the game, with AB InBev letting social media decide which one would air during the game.
In the first, singer Post Malone walks into a store to buy Bud Light, then sees the seltzer. This sets off a fight between two men inside his head who represent his emotions about which one to choose, before a woman weighs in: “Guys, guys, we are incredibly rich. Let’s get both.”
AB InBev now has three of the top five spiked seltzer brands – it also sells Natural Light Seltzer, which comes in at No.4, and Bon & Viv at No.5.
Kosmal said spiked seltzers have strong repeat purchase rates due to their variety of flavours and are attracting health conscious drinkers. They’re also one of the few alcoholic drinks to attract both genders equally.
It’s also growing share rather than cannibalising it – more than 50% of drinkers are adding spiked seltzers to their purchases, rather than swapping it out with another alcoholic beverage they would normally purchase.
Does Australia need seltzer?
During an analyst call this week, Coca-Cola Amatil’s Australian Beverages MD Peter West said Amatil was focused on expanding its current offerings rather than entering the alcoholic seltzer segment.
“Right at the moment, seltzer is not really playing out as any major play in the market,” he said.
“I personally think that the category will continue to grow over time, but there is an introduction that is required. Everyone is looking at plans in hard seltzer.
“We think that we’ve got offerings already with Canadian Club that blur some of that line. And so the types of things that we bring on Canadian Club and the types of innovation, we think, were actually well positioned.
“So the key discussions that we have with our brand partners is the things that we can expand under our current offerings rather than just the new stuff that you have to then introduce the whole concept of what a hard seltzer is. But that need and that blurring of category lines are certainly happening.”
Hoogewerff noted that while selzter is light and refreshing, it’s exploded in the US because there isn’t an RTD category.
“However, Australia already has a large RTD category and consumer needs are being met for the most part,” he said.