The United States has often been an indicator of which trends could start happening in other markets including Australia, and according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, hard seltzer is set for massive growth.

Hard seltzer volume in the US is already sitting at around 82.5m nine-litre cases, which is already larger by volume than vodka, the leading spirits category in America. According to IWSR forecasts, by 2023 the category will more than triple to reach over 281m cases.

The IWSR Hard Seltzer report says that “hard seltzer and other ‘seltzer-like’ products command a market share of 2.6 per cent of all beverage alcohol in the US, up from only 0.85 per cent a year ago.

“IWSR also estimates that hard seltzer ecommerce sales will increase from a current share of 0.8 per cent to nearly two per cent by 2023 as more consumers realise they can purchase these products online.”

The IWSR Hard Seltzer Report is also the first study of its kind to define, examine and quantify the size of the entire hard seltzer universe, a category which not only includes malt-based products, but also those produced from wine and spirits.

These seltzer-like products, with similar product attributes as leading malt-based brands, add another seven million cases to the total seltzer universe in the US.

“Hard seltzers are far from a fad, they’re growing at a spectacular rate, and increasingly, hard seltzer producers are pulling consumers from other beverage alcohol categories, not just beer. Combined, hard seltzers and other canned seltzer-like products (vodka soda, as an example) will drive the total ready-to-drink category, making it the fastest-growing beverage alcohol category in the US over the next five years,” said Brandy Rand, COO of the Americas at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

With Australia being a market that already embraces the RTD concept, the potential of hard seltzers in this country is huge.

IWSR also conducted a consumer opinion and attitude study about hard seltzers, and found that over half (55 per cent) of US alcohol consumers surveyed drink them regularly, at least once a week. The research also shows that while hard seltzers appeal to younger generations of consumers, the category spans all ages and demographics, reaching a broader segment of the population. Consumers cited ‘refreshment’ as the top hard seltzer attribute that appeals to them.

Rand added: “The rise of hard seltzers shows there was a segment of consumers underserved by the current beverage alcohol market who were looking for alternatives that were refreshing and flavourful, but also low-calorie and low-sugar.

“These products also meet the growing consumer demand for convenience, and appeal to people that enjoy popular cocktails like the vodka soda, and wine spritzers. We definitely expect to see more brands taking advantage of this fast-growing trend.”

Last month Lion launched Quincy, Australia’s first hard seltzer, a four per cent ABV, lower sugar, lower carbs, gluten free drink in both lime and passionfruit flavours.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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