Hard seltzers are the success story of the US beer market, driving new consumers to the segment, with massive levels of innovation, significant marketing and capex investment, and even some M&A activity. The category is still in its early days in Europe and Asia-Pacific, with great potential for growth.
North America: It is exceptionally rare for a new alcohol type to capture almost 10% of a total market, but hard seltzer is fast approaching this within the beer segment in North America, says the latest Rabobank Beer Quarterly report.
“We expect significant sales growth in the US hard seltzer market, and could see this category reaching 20% of total beer over the next five years,” says Jim Watson, Senior Analyst – Beverages for Rabobank in New York.
Predictions from the industry are equally bullish, so the industry is investing not just in marketing, but putting large cap-ex into production capabilities to keep up with surging demand.
It’s not just the current size of the category, which is attention grabbing enough, but the fact that it can sustain significant growth for many years to come. With the seltzer category already accounting for $4 billion in sales, 50% growth next would represent massive gains. In fact, household penetration for seltzer remains far below that of light lager.
“For many brewers, seltzers provided a notable tailwind in a challenging 2020 – and virtually every player in the US beer space has major plans for new products in 2021,” according to Watson. However, the category boundaries are rapidly blurring, and the marketplace is getting very crowded.