If you're addicted to seltzer, you're in good company: sparkling water consumption has nearly tripled over the last decade. That got us wondering: When are consumers guzzling down all that carbonated goodness?
We found that consumers have embraced sparkling water as a staple, associating it with everyday activities like mealtimes. They're also pairing it with alcohol, creating new cocktails from their favorite fizzy beverages.
Sparkling water is A new staple
While fizzy refreshment might have been thought of as high-end in the past (we’re looking at you, Perrier and Pellegrino!), it’s no longer a treat reserved for special occasions. Rather, consumers have embraced sparkling water as an everyday drink.
Sparkling water isn’t just a lunch treat, it makes breakfast more effervescent.
Hands down, lunch is the event most often associated with sparkling water, but dinner is close behind. That suggests consumers don’t just chug the bubbly beverage because their workplace fridge is stocked with it—they actively seek it out as part of their daily diet.
Bubbles & booze
We're also seeing sparkling water making inroads into events commonly associated with alcohol like ‘Thirsty Thursday’ and ‘happy hour’:
Is sparkling water sparking a new happy hour trend?
Though the volume is small—just 1% of conversations about sparkling water include a mention of ‘happy hour’—the high percentiles indicate that alcohol events skew toward sparkling water. For example, Thirsty Thursday is in the 82nd percentile, meaning only 18% of topics within the food and beverage vertical are more associated with the event.
That made us curious: do consumers treat sparkling water as a mixer or as an outright alcohol replacement? We pored over the data and found the former is more likely the case. Alcohol routinely appears alongside sparkling water in food and beverage discussions:
Wine spritzers are just the start of consumers’ use of sparkling water as a mixer.
In this case, raw post volume is relatively low, indicating that consumers don’t talk about sparkling water as a mixer particularly often. It’s worth noting the index, though, which indicates the rate at which sparkling water is paired with each alcohol in social conversations.
Although wine comes up in 9% of sparkling water conversations and vodka only in 3%, vodka is 6.6 times more likely to be talked about in relation to sparkling water than the average food and beverage topic. Compare that to wine’s 1.8x and clear cocktails are a clear winner for consumers.
As brands continue to fight for market share, when consumers drink sparkling water—and what they drink it with!—could become a whole new battleground. And while the everyday nature of sparkling water is great for sales, an increase in upmarket options could be on the horizon.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see increased synergy between beverage and beverage-alcohol companies, with sparkling water-as-mixer joining hard seltzer and kombucha as low-cal/low-carb options ideal for health-conscious drinkers.