Hard seltzer

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Forward Progress: Trends by Venue Type

Forward Progress: Trends by Venue Type

by David Klemt

High contrast image of blue cocktail with lemon zest

One notable difficulty with considering new trends is that they’re not all necessarily a universal fit for all venue types.

For example, what may work well in an upscale restaurant perhaps won’t perform as well in a sports bar. Pursuing a trend that isn’t a good fit, obviously.

As any operator with experience knows, chasing fads and trends just to chase them can be costly. Doing so costs money (inventory, training, labor hours) and time deserving of better allocation.

However, failing to embrace any trends can also be costly. Watching a lucrative trend pass by can cost an operator guest engagement, perception, and traffic.

Take, for instance, the success of White Claw. Plenty of operators and consumers scoffed at the hard seltzer category as a whole at first.

Then, some people decided it was a drink category “for women.” As it exploded in popularity, hard seltzers proved immensely popular with men.

Basically, it’s an incredibly strong beverage alcohol category that resonates with a wide range of consumers. On some menus, hard seltzers are listed alongside beers.

So, hard seltzer, led largely by White Claw, showed itself to be a worthwhile trend to adopt.

Clearly, however, hard seltzer doesn’t resonate with all guests on all occasions in all types of hospitality venue types. For instance, generally speaking, a bucket of White Claws likely to be a top seller in a high-end restaurant specializing in seven- to nine-course meals.

Drink Trends by Venue

During Bar & Restaurant Expo in March of this year, Amanda Torgerson of Datassential presented 2022 drink trends operators should know.

One trend has essentially proliferated the industry. Really, it’s likely wise for us to all view this trend—hard seltzer—as mainstream now.

In the context of Torgerson’s presentation, Datassential is saying that hard seltzers are here to stay.

Among other trends, Torgerson shared Datassential’s data-backed view of drink trends segmented by venue category.

While every venue is unique and not every trend will work for every bar or restaurant in a given category, the results are no less intriguing.

Pubs: Dry-hopped beers, pastry stouts, and hard or spiked coffee.

Sports Bars: Mini-beers, hard seltzer, and reusable growlers.

Casual Bars: Seltzers with unique flavors, hard tea, hard lemonade, and drinks featuring local ingredients.

Upscale Bars: Negroni, wine-barrel-aged spirits, and flaming cocktails.

Nightclubs: Hard seltzers served with spirits, cocktails and punch bowls served with dry ice, and flaming cocktails.

Casual Restaurants: Wine cocktails, elevated brunch cocktails, and tea-based alcohol beverages.

Upscale Restaurants: Flaming cocktails (smoked may be better), all-natural wines, and made-to-order cocktail cart presentations.

Hotels, Resorts and Casinos: Made-to-order cocktail carts, alcohol vending machines, and drinks made with cold-pressed juices.

Interestingly, a few of the above trends identified by Datassential appear in multiple venue types.

The main things for an operator to keep in mind is what will resonate with their guests and what’s authentic to their brand. When it comes to trends, one size doesn’t fit all and an individual venue’s mileage will vary.

However, the above list should at least show operators what Datassential sees resonating with guests in an array of venues.

Image: Ozge Karabal on Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Booze Brands Spent Buckets on Big Game

Booze Brands Spent Buckets on Big Game

by David Klemt

Brown Wilson football on a football field

Super Bowl LVI commanded ad prices of $7 million for just 30 seconds, and several brands scrambled to snap up these record-setting spots up.

But before we get into some of the brands that purchased ads, congratulations to the Los Angeles! And condolences to Cincinnati Bengals fans—that was a heartbreaker.

Personally, I had no skin in the game. However, I was eleven years old when the Bengals last made it to the Big Game in 1989. I wanted to see them win last night.

Speaking of the Big Game, a 30-second ad spot reportedly cost $675,000 during the 23rd championship. In today’s money, that would be $1,530,442.

So, who in the beverage alcohol world splashed out $7 million for ads during the Big Game yesterday? And why do we still have to play this name game when referring to “that” game?

More importantly, what does it matter to you who spent so much on commercials on Sunday? Well, with so many eyes glued to TVs yesterday, it stands to reason that some consumers will be influenced to seek out brands and new products.

In other words, you may find that guests are ordering or asking if you carry certain products. For example, the products below.


Would it be a…Big Game…without a Budweiser commercial? Technically, yes. But I think we all know it would feel weird.

Yesterday’s spot was sparse when it comes to beer. However, it featured a horse and dog best friend duo, and that’s just as good as beer. Perhaps it’s even better, because dogs are dogs and horses are huge dogs.

Bud Light Hard Seltzer Soda

When Guy Fieri shows up you can bet whatever he’s endorsing is big on flavor. So, since the Mayor of Flavortown (who I’m now crowning Lord of the Land of Loud Flavors) showed up in yesterday’s Bud Light Hard Seltzer Soda, operators should count on some guests asking for these five-percent ABV RTDs.

Bud Light NEXT

Oh, you thought Hard Seltzer Soda was Bud Light’s big reveal? Nope!

The brand purchased two spots and one revealed Bud Light NEXT, the brand’s new zero-carb beer. The compelling ad asks people to consider the benefits of eschewing norms

Busch Light

Ya gotta love a brand that leans into having fun in their marketing. Busch Light knows who they are as a brand and, more just as importantly, knows their audience.

I’m not gonna lie, their ad made me want to kick back, pop a top, and listen to the soothing sounds of Kenny G. Outdoors. By a river. At the foot of a mountain.

Cutwater Spirits

People love the “Here’s to the crazy ones” quote from Steve Jobs. Well, Cutwater Spirits is raising a can to the lazy ones.

Just watch it below, trust me. Of the alcohol commercials, this was my favorite.

Michelob Ultra

The sheer number of celebrity athletes that showed up in Michelob Ultra‘s ad spot was breathtaking. Just as impressive is the fact that their spot came in at one minute. So, Michelob likely spent $14 million on their ad.

Of course, as a The Big Lebowski fan, the biggest feature for me was Steve Buscemi’s appearance in a bowling alley. Donny lives!

Samuel Adams

Well, your cousin from Boston got a security gig at Boston Dynamics. In Samuel Adams’ “Your Cousin from Boston (Dynamics)” spot, your cousin introduces the robots to the new Wicked IPA Party Pack. Whaddya wanna bet shenanigans ensue?

There are four beers in the pack: Wicked Hazy, Wicked Easy, Wicked Double, and the brand-new Wicked Tropical.

Image: Dave Adamson on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Summer of White Claw 2.0?

Summer of White Claw 2.0?

by David Klemt

White Claw Surge Blood Orange and White Claw Surge Cranberry hard seltzer cans

White Claw is ready to leverage the surge in pent-up consumer demand to get out and party this summer with their latest innovation, Surge.

The new expressions are notable for several reasons. The most obvious, of course, is that they ring in at 8.0% ABV.

Odds are strong that we may be on the verge of a Summer of Surge.

Summer of White Claw 2.0

Let’s look back at the brief but bold history of White Claw.

Imagine it’s 2016. Hard seltzer isn’t quite the powerhouse beverage category that it is today. There’s no snappy, “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws,” tagline. Neither is there a “ClawLife” hashtag…yet. However, White Claw launches.

Fast-forward to 2018. Fanatics are sharing their devotion to White Claw all over social media. They’re tagging posts #ClawLife. The memes are everywhere, as are the white cans of hard seltzer.

That leads us to 2019. It almost seems simpler to ask what Big Brands aren’t trying to copy White Claw’s success. Try as they might, nobody dethrones King Claw.

Summer 2019 is the Summer of White Claw. The brand essentially singlehandedly grows hard seltzer into the powerhouse beverage category it is today.

In 2021, the hard seltzer kingpin certainly seems set to take over summer once again with White Claw Surge Cranberry and White Claw Surge Blood Orange.

Surging Forward

White Claw Surge’s higher ABV—a boost from 5.0% to 8.0%—isn’t the only departure from the “standard” Claws.

Surge is available only in 16-ounce cans, whereas standard White Claw comes in 12-ounce cans and tall boy versions are 19.2 ounces.

Another big difference? Standard White Claw flavors in 12-ounce cans contain 100 calories. Surge, with 220 calories, has more than twice that amount.


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A post shared by White Claw Hard Seltzer (@whiteclaw)

Should White Claw Surge perform as expected, it will represent an interesting evolution in hard seltzer. For many, hard seltzer is a stand-in for beer and other beverage alcohol options because of its low calorie count. If higher-proof, high-calorie hard seltzer becomes popular, it’s a notable shift in consumer behavior.

#ClawLife 2.0

Surge isn’t the only innovation coming from White Claw in time for Summer 2021.

The new White Claw Iced Tea flavors will likely prove to be a popular refresher as the weather gets warmer. These expressions—Lemon, Raspberry, Mango, and Peach—are 100 calories and 5.0% ABV (in 12-ounce cans) like standard Claws.

There are also three new expressions of White Claw available in Variety Pack Flavor Collection No. 3: Strawberry, Pineapple, and Blackberry.

With all of these new hard seltzers on the market and pent-up consumer demand, it’s difficult to see how we’re not headed toward Summer of White Claw 2.0.

Image: White Claw