It may have seemed like a fad at first, but unlike bell-bottoms and New Coke, hard seltzer shows no signs of going away. The market for hard seltzer keeps on growing. More and more craft beer brands are throwing their hat in the ring, but so are big brands that have not yet jumped on the bandwagon.
Anheuser-Busch's Natural Light has announced that it will join the legions of big beer brands vying for White Claw's throne. Before you turn up your nose, it's worth recalling that many scoffed at Natural Light when it announced Naturdays, a strawberry lemonade-flavored beer. Now, it has some serious fans.
On one level, this is an unexpected move when Natural Light is best known as being cheap enough for college students to afford. On another level -- the one where you picture what students are pulling out of a cooler on a front lawn -- this makes perfect sense. Natural Light Seltzer will cost about 20% less than the average 12-pack, the company says. Cheap with a slightly elevated ABV (6%) will be the calling card, because its total of 133 calories per 12-ounce can is not huge, but is more than the 100-ish calories health-conscious drinkers have come to expect from seltzers. However, Natural Light is not the last cheap beer brand planning a play to conquer the seltzer market through affordability. (Though, it'll be competing with a new hard seltzer from PBR.)
Natural Light will be releasing two different flavors as it rolls out to stores throughout the month. The first flavor is called Aloha Beaches, a combination of mango and peach flavors. The second is Catalina Lime Mixer, a combination of black cherry and lime. If you're looking to pick it up, they'll be issuing it in 12 packs, 24 packs, and a single-serving 25-ounce can.
"The seltzer category is booming. It’s part of a larger shift in consumption across America and we believe it has tremendous staying power," said Ricardo Marques, vice president of core and value brands at Anheuser-Busch. "We know plenty of Natty Light drinkers are also trying seltzer, so we want to meet that demand by bringing the fun of Natty into that space with an affordable price offering that fits their lifestyle."
If you remain skeptical on Natural Light's new foray, they're giving away some seltzer on social media. You can tweet about why "your party needs more flavor" with the hashtags #NattySeltzer and #sweepstakes. They're going to pick 100 winners who get 10 cases of seltzer dropped off at their door. Depending on your feeling about the seltzer, that could potentially be a lifetime supply.