Ordering a glass of Rose is not so simple anymore. Now there’s rose cider, CBD-infused cocktails, spiked seltzers, and more.

Drinks have gone hybrid. Pairing two types of drinks has created new sectors in the market and resulted in booming sales on products like rose cider and spiked seltzers.

White Claw crisis

Leading the way among hybrid drinks is spiked seltzer. Brands such as White Claw, Truly, and Bon & Viv have led the sector, which is now valued at $550 million and projected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2021.

If this prediction comes true, that means hard seltzer will have an annual growth rate of 66% and a rise in consumption from 14 million cases in 2018 to 72 million cases in 2021. It’s easy to see the growth happening, with spiked seltzer being called “the drink of summer.”

White Claw has dominated with 50% of the market share. In fact, White Claw is out-selling every type of craft beer, and in July 2019 the brand even claims to have outsold Budweiser.

In fact, in September CNN reported that America was running out of White Claw.

“We are working around the clock to increase supply given the rapid growth in consumer demand,” Sanjiv Gajiwala, White Claw’s senior vice president of marketing, told CNN Business. “White Claw has accelerated faster than anyone could have predicted.”

Millennials are also reaching for spiked seltzer because it’s seen as a healthier alternative drink, with fewer calories than beer.

Hybrid heroes

For the drinker that loves a glass of rose and the crisp apples of cider, rose cider burst onto the scene in 2017 and so far has had staying power.

With Rose sales climbing 40% in 2017 and cider sales growing to $1.3 billion, pairing the two seems like a natural fit and hit. Category sales for rose cider were up 13% last year.

Some brands have even merged the booming CBD industry with wine.

Rebel Coast Winery infused just enough THC into their product to mimic the feeling of a typical glass of wine.

On its website, the founders write, “In 2018 the prohibition of cannabis in California ended, and we had a big idea. (It turns out cannabis and alcohol cannot be sold in the same building and definitely not in the same product.) That was when we decided to make the wine, remove the alcohol and replace it with THC. Our final product is a beautiful alcohol-removed cannabis-infused Sauvignon Blanc. It does not taste or smell like cannabis, but instead a crisp, clean California Blanc.”

The Cannabis Co., based in Healesville, Australia released a cannabis-infused gin in late 2018. The company describes their gin as a “dietary health and wellness supplement” that can offer “joyful and euphoric effects.”

What brands can do to capitalize on hybrid drinks

Millennial and Gen X consumers are the most experimental in the type of alcohol they choose, and enjoy trying different kinds of alcoholic beverages,” IRI reports. The report also said that Gen X consumers averaged 3.6 different kinds of alcohol at home in the past three months, and tried 2.8 different types of alcohol on premise.

If you have a hybrid drink in your portfolio, consider an event to promote it and show consumers the lifestyle that can come with enjoying your product.

If you’re looking to add a hybrid drink to your offerings, consider reaching out to smaller, independent distilleries that are doing something unique and starting a partnership. Your bigger named brand can help expand the reach and awareness of the product and increase sales for everyone.

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Meredith Galante

Meredith Galante is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has been published in USA Today, amNewYork, Newsday, Square and more. She's interviewed then-Mayor Cory Booker, Ryan Seacrest, and other New Jersey folks who made their community better. She's covered breaking news, sports, features, and now frequently writes about small businesses.
Meredith Galante