Hard Seltzers: White Claw vs. Truly in 2023 so far

Hard Seltzers White Claw

Malt and sugar hard seltzers continue to post negative numbers in January, albeit against a tough comp that will get easier as the year progresses. Seltzers in total are down 10.2% so far this year, while spirit-based seltzers are up 57%, per NeilsenIQ scans cited by Jefferies. But within the top two, White Claw has continued to pull ahead of Truly, and the gap is widening.

In terms of year-to-date off-premise volume for January, White Claw is up 4.4% and Truly is down a whopping 31.2%, based on IRI all channel scans to January 29.

Source: Beer Business Daily.

Truly is going up against a much tougher comparison, as last year it was in the midst of rolling out punch and iced tea variety packs, each of which is down over 20% this year. Also, Truly average pricing per case is up $2.85, a buck a case more than White Claw. (Ed Note: This doesn’t necessarily mean Truly took a dollar of pricing more than White Claw, as average pricing includes shifts in package mix sold – so any shift to singles, for instance, would drive average pricing up – just as it clearly did with Sazerac being up over $10 a case due to their pivot to selling packaged shots).

Drilling down further into ranking flavors of the top two seltzer brands, you go through give White Claw flavors before you get to the first Truly: White Claw Variety Pack (-12.1%), Black Cherry (+9.8%), Variety Pack #3 (-1.5%), Variety Pack #2 (-16.3%), and Mango (-3.6%); then comes Truly Lemonade Mix Pack (-25.1%), Truly Berry Mix Pack (-15.7%), Punch Mix Pack (-25.9%), and Truly Margarita Mix Pack (-63.8%, a boom-splat).

The difference between the two seltzer mother brands is that Mark Anthony was not only able to better stem the bleeding of their legacy variety packs to a point that is very close to a manageable bottom, but they’ve innovated with single pack flavors: In particular Watermelon (+60.8%), Ruby Grapefruit (+25.5%) and especially Black Cherry (+9.8%, and up the most in cases and share, +54k boxes or +.03 volume share), plus gains in their new-ish White Claw Surf Variety Pack (+0.08 vol share), in IRI all channel volume scans to January 29.

Out of Truly’s stable of brands that show up in IRI’s top 100 brands, only Wild Berry managed to maintain market share of total beer – all others experienced dollar and volume declines as well as share declines.

You may be also interested in reading: United Kingdom: Low-alcohol beers set to have more strength.

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