After spending the entire summer of 2019 pounding White Claws by the 12-pack, what’s next for America?
We drink hard seltzers because they’re refreshing and fun. The light beverages have a hint of fruit flavor and pack the ideal amount of alcohol for the perfect subtle buzz. The calorie count per can is low enough to justify drinking them all day long, and we usually do.
The simplicity of hard seltzers leaves something to be desired. Someone on twitter described their taste as “if you were drinking carbonated water and someone screamed out loud the name of a specific fruit in the other room”. This leaves a void for us drinkers who appreciate the lower calories and lively branding, but seek more flavor or are just simply bored of seltzers.
What will be the next trend to fill this void? We can check the supermarket shelves for clues, where non-alcoholic flavored seltzers became popular before the spiked versions exploded onto the scene. We already see other non-alcoholic beverage trends creeping into the alcohol space with products like hard kombucha and alcohol infused energy drinks.
Globally, water is still the most consumed beverage in the world, so it makes sense that adding alcohol to carbonated water became popular. So what’s the second most consumed liquid in the world? Tea.
You heard it here first, the next alcoholic beverage craze to sweep the country will be spiked iced tea. Ready-to-drink teas are enjoying a popularity surge across the country. Is there anything more American and more refreshing than sipping sweet summertime iced tea? It also quenches the growing demand for more diverse flavors and trendy ingredients. There’s black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and tons of other variations. You can blend it with fruits, herbs, and other exciting flavors not possible in a seltzer.
Currently, there are a handful of hard tea brands already on the market. The market leader for almost 20 years has been Twisted Tea, and no brand has been able to knock them off that throne. Many brands have tried, but Twisted Tea continues to grow and dominate.
The brand reminds us of that old frat guy who graduated years ago, but keeps showing up at all the college parties. You can't figure out who keeps bringing him, but he's always there. Twisted Tea has a huge following, but it’s not the same consumer as the spiked seltzer crowd. Today’s consumers are more drawn to emerging brands and a ‘better for you’ perception in their drinks.
You’ll also find a handful of ‘craft’ brands on the shelves in the hard tea category. Among our favorites are:
Hoop Tea, the self-proclaimed ‘official drink of day drinking’, and our favorite among the bunch. Great taste, flavors, and fun summer branding.
According to their addictive website, Hoop Tea was born at a beachfront brewery in Ocean City, Maryland. (We were first introduced to the brand on a trip to Seacrets, America's day drinking mecca, also located in Ocean City.) Hoop Tea has a genuine brand story and delicious product that resonates with ingredient-conscious millennials as well as nostalgic boomers. Their spiked teas have classic flavors like Peach Tea Lemonade and Watermelon Mint Green Tea, but they also have a sparkling line with ‘on trend’ ingredients like coconut water, goji berries, and matcha tea. Hoop Tea checks all the boxes to become the ‘next big thing’ so it will be interesting to see if the company decides to remain a local craft brand or a national player.
Whatever new alcoholic products become all the rage this year, we can make some predictions; they will be low in calories, come in skinny cans, and be plastered on our instagram feeds all summer. Cheers!