seltzer lines shelves at Discount Liquor in downtown
Waukesha on Friday that once mostly contained wine coolers.
FALLS - Area liquor dealers admit they underestimated the
salability of hard seltzer, but have found even die-hard beer
drinkers are getting into the low-carb, low-calorie alcoholic
Berger, president of Toto’s Inc., which owns several area
Otto’s Wine & Spirits stores in the area, said alcoholic
seltzers are refreshing and can be used as mixers or drunk right
from the can. He said there are several brands on the market with
different flavor varieties.
Claw helped to launch the beverage into the mainstream when it hit
the market in the spring of 2016. And while it was marketed at
first as a perfect-for-summer beverage, Berger said sales have
remained strong during the winter.
its refreshing taste, other attributes of alcoholic seltzers that
have made them a top seller are that they are low-calorie and low-carb.
admits he was a skeptic at first.
you ever had someone ask you for something and you wonder to
yourself, ‘What are you talking about, is that really a
thing?’ That was my first response the first time I was asked
for ahard seltzer, yes, hard, alcoholic seltzer. This oxymoron is
the newest category to hit the alcohol industry, and believe it or
not, they are selling quite well,” Berger wrote in a blog on
said he knew times were changing when his brother-in-law, a
die-hard Pabst drinker, went on a low-carb diet and was drinking
thought Hell froze over,” he said.
Greguska Jr., one of the owners of Discount Liquor with locations
in Waukesha and Milwaukee, said all brands of hard seltzer are
doing well, with three main ones being Henry’s, Smirnoff and
said since the category of liquor was created, more companies have
entered the hard seltzer market, as well.
flavors also appeal to different people, such as the not-sweet
grapefruit and lime, said Bryan Szukalski, manager of Jeff’s
Spirits on Main in West Bend.
with the taste of seltzer, he said it’s a good alternative to
beer or other alcoholic beverages.
described the consumers of hard seltzer as “a little more of a
younger crowd and not necessarily male or female.
younger group is looking for something different. Craft beer
is also doing well with that same age group.”
said the prime demographic tends to be women in their mid-20s to
50, but he said the age range is wide and it appeals to people who
are conscious of their caloric or carb consumption.
are conscious of drinking beer, or more calories or more sugar,”
Szukalski said. “This is supposedly healthier for you or less
calories at least. ... This is the alternative form for them to
stay on their diets.”
only is it popular at liquor stores, Greguska said, but a lot of
bars and restaurants are now carrying it, and even golf courses
stock it because it comes in a can.
Discount Liquor, sales of hard seltzer remain strong year round so
the product maintains a floor display and is not just in the
sell more of them every year. It’s still a little bit more
seasonal,” Greguska said. “People tend to pick them up year
said hard seltzers have been known to sell out.
a nationwide craze and I thought it was just going to be a flash
in the pan craze, but it looks like something that will stick in
the pan,” he said. “I don’t foresee it declining.”
By the numbers
Sales of White Claw exceeded $117 million in 2018.
U.S. sales of hard seltzers in retail stores garnered $336
million in the 12 months ending Aug. 11, 2018.
Mike’s Hard business is up more than 20 percent, largely due to
White Claw, which launched in May 2016. Source: Tribune News