This summer's hottest drink is hard seltzers, and their success during the pandemic is rapidly transforming the alcohol industry.
Alcohol sales soared during the pandemic, and hard seltzers led the most of the growth, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. They found seltzers and canned cocktails jumped 43%, and overall alcohol sales rose about 2% in 2020.
NielsenIQ data provided Bussiness Insider with data on the hard seltzer industry, only to reveal that it has become a multi-billion dollar industry over a short period, with $4.5 billion in sales in just 52 weeks ending on May 22. For the month, sales jumped 80% over the same month in 2020. In 2017, hard seltzers had sales of only $39 million. Already, sales this year are around $3 billion, more than doubling 2019's.
The growing demand for seltzers and canned cocktails is not just because of the virus pandemic closing down bars, but there's also a generation component to the equation because millennials seek exotic tastes and a convenience factor in a can.
How consumers are consuming hard seltzer pic.twitter.com/aRIswlaZqw— zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 10, 2020
Nielsen analyst Danelle Kosmal told Insider that hard seltzers' popularity is driving growth across the entire industry. She added that consumers are requesting hard seltzer with "an experience through flavor or trying something new."
Bank of America beverage analysts told clients in March that Anheuser-Busch InBev and Diageo were two companies that are emerging as top players in the field.
Instacart said hard seltzers are popular with millennials who live in suburbs or small urban areas.
There's plenty of reason to believe that as bars and restaurants open up, hard seltzer will continue to be in high demand.