Is Hard Seltzer on the Way Out the Door?

Hard Seltzer Sales Go Down

During the worst of the pandemic, drink sales skyrocketed. Quarantine made people bored, and they missed going out with their friends, so virtual happy hours via Zoom abounded. Yet throughout that, people also became more conscious of their physical wellbeing. With a deadly virus going around, consumers trended toward healthy eating—and that included alcohol. Sales for everything from beer to hard kombucha went up and up and up. Now with the pandemic finally waning (to a degree), industries like hard seltzer have noticed their popularity waning.

The creator of Truly, one of the most popular hard seltzer brands, definitely noticed the shift. After their second quarterly earnings report, shares plummeted 25%. Truly, along with competitor White Claw, make up most of the hard seltzer market so declines in sales can be indicative of widespread change.

Why Hard Seltzer is on the Rocks

The decline in interest could come from a few factors. Perhaps people simply drink less. Maybe they switched back to beer given newly active lifestyles; or maybe they’re just going out more often now.

Commercial dining rooms reopened this summer, and that means more people going out to eat. This causes a reduction in hard seltzer sales just by nature. Most restaurants have a much more exhaustive list of beers and wines, thus it’s natural for some of the revenue to shift as customers go back to dining in.

It may not be the sole reason, though. Truly noticed its decline in sales after spending 2020 catching up to White Claws’ popularity. Since they became such a huge competitor in the market, more and more brands noticed the hard seltzer craze and jumped on board. Even Bud Light and Mike’s Hard made their own versions, despite being known for beer and spiked lemonade respectively. With more options to choose from, some customers may have simply found their preferred brand elsewhere.

Does Less Demand Mean Death?

Although the sales of Truly stopped growing at such a fast pace, that doesn’t mean their sales ceased completely. Some industry professionals argue the opposite: It’s still a significant part of the market, though it may no longer enjoy uninterrupted growth. Hard seltzer is still a worthy competitor to beer. More flavors continue to roll out encouraging customers to try new brands, which suggests they’re sticking around.

New products may not get the warm reception that your initial release did, but they will still appeal to the core audiences cultivated during the worst of the pandemic. Hard seltzer cemented its place in the food and beverage industry in a strange time, when lockdowns abounded. As the world eventually heals, these brands have to find their place in the new marketplace. That means getting footholds in restaurants, bars and other establishments that already stock up on beer, wine and other alcohol. Demand isn’t gone; it’s just changing.

If you’re a restaurant looking to add more hard seltzer to your inventory, watch demand for it grow. Smart Point of Sale systems track sales data across multiple channels to show accurate, real-time reports. See what sells best and when and to who, and you can make smarter marketing and business decisions moving forward. Hard seltzer could be just what your restaurant needs to get back crucial sales lost during COVID-19.

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