Lion has announced it will import the hugely successful White Claw alcoholic seltzer into Australia.
White Claw sales grew by 315% in the year-to-date and the brand has sold in excess of 80 million cases in the US. The alcoholic seltzer segment is on pace to capture 10% of the beer category dollar sales by the US summer, according to Cowen analyst Vivien Azer.
Lion has entered into partnership with Mark Anthony Brands International, the makers of White Claw Hard Seltzer, to import, market and exclusively distribute the beverage in Australia.
The new agreement between Mark Anthony Brands International and Lion will give Australians their first taste of the phenomenon from October of this year.
Launched in 2016, the name White Claw takes its inspiration from the legend of the white claw wave—when three perfect crests come together to create a moment of pure refreshment. In the US, the brand dominates the seltzer category with close to 60% market share, almost three times the size of its nearest competitor and in the process has become something of a cultural phenomenon, with passionate consumers in their millions championing the brand online.
Initially Lion will import and distribute three leading variants – Mango, Natural Lime and Ruby Grapefruit, with more to come.
Davin Nugent, CEO of Mark Anthony Brands International said: “We are thrilled to be working with Lion and excited to take the first steps with them into the emerging seltzer category in Australia. Lion has an outstanding track record of nurturing international brands to success in Australia and we look forward to working with them to introduce local consumers to White Claw Hard Seltzer.
“Making the decision to come here was an easy one, as consumers familiar with the brand in America have made sure to have their voices heard on our social media channels, demanding we bring White Claw to Aussie shores.”
James Brindley, Managing Director of Lion Australia, added: “The popularity of White Claw cannot be disputed. Despite the fact the product has not actually been available in Australia up until now, it has well and truly earned its place in popular culture and is the market leader globally in this exciting new category. It is the most sought-after beverage brand in the world right now.
“It is a natural fit for our growing portfolio of adult beverages beyond our core beer range – and taps into a number of consumer trends around lower calorie and lower sugar products. We believe the seltzer category represents a significant growth opportunity for Lion over the coming years and we are looking forward to bringing the biggest seltzer brand in the world to Australia.”
Lion was the first major drinks company to launch an alcoholic seltzer into the Australian market late last year, when it added Quincy to shelves.
The Australian-made, gluten-free, lower carb and lower sugar alcoholic seltzer – containing a hint of either natural lime or passionfruit flavour – was introduced to capitalise on Australians moving towards healthier drinks options.
Seltzer boom bucks alcohol downturn
Alcoholic seltzers are continuing to attract new consumers in the US, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Nielsen.
From March 1 to April 25, the number of consumers buying alcoholic seltzer nearly doubled, and 44% of buyers were doing so for the first time.
“This reflects an interesting dynamic that while many trends are pointing to consumers purchasing existing brands they know and trust, there is also a subset of consumers that are willing to try new products (or new-to-them),” Nielsen reported.
During the one-week period ending May 16, hard seltzers continued to drive beer category dollar sales growth, increasing sales 311%, and now accounting for 9.1% of beer category dollar share.
For the latest one-week period, White Claw alone accounted for 18% of beer category dollar sales growth for the week.