The Health-Oriented Drinker: How Hard Seltzers and Hard Kombucha are Finding a Niche

Posted by
Kevin Byrne on 8/21/18 5:00 AM

The growing desire amongst consumers to live a healthier lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding alcohol altogether. The increasing Health and Wellness trend has noticeably spilled over to Beverage Alcohol as products like Hard Seltzer and Hard Kombucha have skyrocketed in popularity, each experiencing large growth in social and sales volume.

Qualities like ‘nutrition,’ and ‘organic’ are being mentioned more frequently in Beverage Alcohol conversations this year than in 2017, while ‘vegan’ was mentioned 28% more frequently in July than last year. This demand presents an opportunity for new and existing products to establish a foothold within a growing, health-conscious consumer base.


Hard Seltzer Growth Jun 17-Jun 18

U.S. Weekly Social (blue) and Sales (green) for Hard Seltzer


Why Hard Seltzer and Hard Kombucha?

Hard Seltzers have been a popular choice for the health-oriented consumer as Summer 2018 has been a major coming-out party for the category. July U.S. social volume on Instagram is up 259% year over year and U.S. sales increased by 166% in the same period. Driven by a younger, female demographic, brands like White Claw, SpikedSeltzer, and Truly Spiked & Sparkling have made serious inroads as a lighter alternative to beer. ‘Low calorie,’ ‘low carb,’ ‘low sugar,’ and ‘gluten-free,’ are qualities mentioned frequently in Hard Seltzer conversations, pinpointing exactly what consumers love about the product. As most would expect, Hard Seltzer looks to be a seasonal selection as consumption cools off with the weather.


Hard Seltzer Share of BevAl Jun 17- Jun 18

Hard Seltzer Social Share of U.S. Beverage Alcohol Conversations


This presents an interesting opportunity for other products to fill that void in the fall and winter months. A category that could step up, and be a major competitor to Hard Seltzer even in summer months, is Hard Kombucha. This up-and-coming category grew 38% YOY in U.S. social volume on Instagram in July, while U.S. sales exploded, increasing 324% in the same period.


Hard Kombucha Growth Jun 17-Jun 18

Weekly Social (blue) and Sales (green) for Hard Kombucha


Relevant brands include market-leading Boochcraft, Owl’s Brew, and newcomer JuneShine. Similar to Hard Seltzers, consumers of Hard Kombucha tend to be younger females and often reference specific health concerns. Qualities like ‘gluten-free,’ ‘healthy,’ ‘organic,’ and ‘vegan’ are integral to the Hard Kombucha consumer, appearing frequently in conversations. ‘Probiotics’ and ‘anti-oxidants’ are also important to the Hard Kombucha consumer. The category may be relatively new, but social and sales volume and consumer desires indicate this product is becoming a major player alongside Hard Seltzers in the space.


Future Outlook 

Each of these categories have been able to achieve growing success in attracting health-oriented drinkers, while appealing to different health benefits. It has become clear that not only are consumers interested in lighter, healthier options, but also those that appeal to specific concerns, such as ‘gluten-free’ or ‘organic.’

While there is some overlap between the qualities important to Hard Seltzers and Hard Kombucha consumers, the categories have created a little space between each other, appealing to different desires while proving there is a large, growing market for boozy, health-conscious products.  All signs point to each of these continuing to grow and it will be interesting to keep an eye out for other potentially innovative products that might emerge in a hot space, appealing to drinkers looking to feel healthier while consuming alcohol.


Curious about what else is going on in the BevAl industry?
Check out Trends Transforming Beverage Alcohol! This insight report investigates four macro trends that are changing what and how consumers drink.

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Topics: sales data, social analytics, social data, social intelligence, consumer, consumer analytics, beverages, healthy living, alcohol

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