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08 April 2021

Hard seltzers – a gift to the brewing industry

USA | Hard seltzers are among the fastest-growing categories within the beer, spirits and wine category, and should continue growing in the double digits this year, AB-InBev’s North American chief Michel Doukeris said on 17 March 2021 on CNBC.

AB-InBev launched Cacti Agave Spiked Seltzer, a new line-up of seltzer drinks, in March. The brand is backed by rapper Travis Scott, who even directed a commercial for the drink. The hard seltzer sold out within hours, Mr Doukeris said. AB-InBev’s online shop also quickly ran out of supply.

Cacti Agave hard seltzer complements AB-InBev portfolio of brands, including Bud Light Seltzer, and Bud Light Lemonade. Cacti stands out from its sister brands as it contains more alcohol, and is made with agave from Mexico.

One might assume that sales of seltzer are cannibalising beer sales, but this is not the case for AB-InBev, Mr Doukeris claims. In fact, hard seltzer is a “gift for the beer industry”, after the total volume of beer shipped steadily declined from 2010 through 2019, Mr Doukeris said.

As hard seltzers are included in beer sales, the beer category has grown over the past 12 months, Mr Doukeris argued. Because seltzers are in the same aisle and same stores as beer, people are going back to beer, as well, he said.