A new analysis of on-premise hard seltzer data from Backbar, the largest alcohol inventory management platform for restaurants and bars, shows that White Claw is down 15.4 share points in the first two quarters of 2021.
Backbar, which is used by over 10,000 businesses to streamline beverage operations, analyzed data on inventory share, purchasing, and venue segment data of Backbar users to track trends in the hard seltzer category for on-premise businesses. Backbar launched in 2019 and the data set runs from May 2019 -June 2021.
In 2020, White Claw products accounted for 60.4% of the hard seltzers in on-premise accounts. Data from June 2021 shows White Claw’s market share dropped to 45% of all hard seltzers.
White Claw Hard Seltzer products still dominate the on-premise sector, with White Claw Black Cherry (13.2%) and White Claw Mango (9.22%) making up the top two products in market share. White Claw Natural Lime (3.46%), White Claw Raspberry (3.33%) and White Claw Ruby Grapefruit (3.33%) all fall within the top 10 products by share.
The Hard Seltzer segment is extremely top-heavy, with the top five brands in Backbar accounting for 83% of the market share:
- White Claw (45%)
- Truly (17.4%)
- High Noon Spirits Company (10.4%)
- Bud Light Seltzer (10%)
- Bon & Viv (1.28%)
High Noon saw the largest gain of share points year-over-year, growing by 6.3 points in the first six months of 2021.
Backbar data shows that High Noon and Truly’s market gain has been driven by new, innovative product releases. Truly’s growth has come through its Lemonade product line, led by its Strawberry Lemonade offering and successful launch of its Punch line of products. In fact, the Punch flavor/category has shown the largest growth in 2021 and is made up almost entirely of the Truly Punch product line
Tropical and summer-fruit flavors like pineapple and watermelon have also seen impressive growth. High Noon’s tropical flavors (Pineapple and Watermelon) drove its growth, appealing to bar operators and consumers with the seltzer’s brand position of “real vodka + real fruit juice.”
Currently, the top three hard seltzer flavors are Black Cherry, Mango, and Lime, and they make up 49% of the market, which is about equal to the next 25 flavors.
All of these growing segments show that product innovation is driving brand growth, not established brand names as Backbar found that major brands’ market share is lagging. Despite a $40 million market spend by Constellation Brands Inc., Corona Hard Seltzer didn’t experience the same initial market gains as Bud Light Hard Seltzer release. In addition, Molson Coors and Constellation products only account for less than 4% of market share despite having large financial backing.
Also in decline is the citrus flavor segment, which has experienced a steady decline in popularity since 2019. Though White Claw Natural Lime is the third most represented product in market share, its lost 8.3 share points since 2019. The decline of citrus flavor is seen across the entire hard seltzer category. The Lime flavor category as a whole, dropped from 15% (2019) to. 7.5% (2021) while Grapefruit has fallen from 15% (2019) to 6.6% (2021).