White Claw is launching Surge, a higher alcohol seltzer for summer 2021

Whiteclaw surge
  • White Claw is launching a new hard seltzer with higher alcohol content.
  • Alcohol sales were up in 2020, especially hard seltzer and canned cocktails.
  • Analysts predict continue growth this summer even as bars reopen.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

White Claw is releasing a new seltzer with higher alcohol content for summer, called Surge.

Surge contains 8% alcohol, compared to 5% in a typical White Claw, the company says. It will only be available in single 453.59g cans priced at $2.99 in blood orange and cranberry flavors.

White Claw dominates the hard seltzer market, which has exploded over the past few years. In 2019, retailers couldn’t keep White Claw in stock, and the manufacturer was “working around the clock” to increase inventory. Now the market is more crowded, and Four Loko, Pabst, Bud Light, Labatt, and Natural Light each sell hard seltzers. Alcohol content ranges from 5% on the low end to 12% in Four Loko, closer to alcohol levels found in wine. Coco-Cola is also introducing hard Topo Chico seltzer, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade will launch a seltzer, too.

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Alcohol sales were up in 2020 as Americans stayed home during the pandemic, and hard seltzers led the growth. Overall alcohol sales rose about 2% in 2020, while ready-to-drink sales including seltzers and canned cocktails rose 43%, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis found.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs predict hard seltzers will become a $30 million market by 2025, taking up about 25% of total alcohol sales, Winsight Grocery Business reported. 93% of retailers that stock hard seltzers plan to increase shelf space dedicated to the product, Forbes reported. And as new brands enter the category, experts predict a “shakeout” between classics and newcomers, with Truly and White Claw likely to remain on top, according to Winsight.

Analysts predict sales will remain strong even as the US reopens this summer with easing COVID restrictions and consumers can return to bars.

“[We] believe hard seltzers’ penetration of the on-premise channel will accelerate as consumers will now increasingly ask for/demand hard seltzers,” Bonnie Herzog of Goldman Sachs told Winsight Grocery Business. “Importantly, distributors in general believe there is still much upside ahead for hard seltzers given consumers’ clear enthusiasm and the sheer size of the addressable market which includes total alcohol.”

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