Has The Golden Era of Spiked Beverages Peaked?

By: James Flippin · August 08, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

A New Twist

Until recently, if you wanted to enjoy an alcoholic beverage outside of a bar, you had a couple options: 1) buy a case of beer or 2) buy the ingredients for a cocktail and mix your own. In today’s consumer world, this is no longer the case.

The hard seltzer revolution has ushered in a golden era of spiked beverages. Today’s 21-and-over consumers will find many drink options now have a spiked alternative. A few alcoholic twists on traditional beverages include Topo Chico Hard Seltzer (TAP), AirZona’s Hard Tea, and Sunny D Vodka Seltzer.

The Spiked Revolution

In the past, many beverage makers strayed away from mixing alcohol into their products for two reasons: stringent legal requirements and potential damage to their reputation. There was also a belief that if consumers wanted to drink alcohol, they would just go with a beer. But, this has all changed in the past few years.

White Claw and Truly Hard Seltzer were first launched in 2016. In 2019, the hard seltzer revolution really took off with White Claw sales quadrupling from $158 million in 2018 to $627 million in 2019. Since then, dozens of other beverage makers have hopped on the trend by offering their own pre-mixed alcoholic concoctions.

Just Beginning or Winding Down?

Beverage makers are growing increasingly bold with their new alcoholic drinks in an effort to appeal to consumers’ tastes. One example is SunnyD Vodka Seltzer, which was launched in response to social media posts from people who grew up drinking SunnyD and are now over 21.

Despite these recent moves in the alcoholic beverages industry, beer remains the largest alcohol segment, representing $120.6 billion of the $283.8 billion total market. That said, many industry insiders suggest that the spiked beverage market is far from peaking. In fact, it could just be getting started.

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