Why White Claw has the hard seltzer edge in COVID-19 climate and beyond - analysis - FREE TO ACCESS

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Last week, Mark Anthony Brands' White Claw arrived in the UK. The US hard seltzer market leader also has plans to expand into other markets, including Australia, later this year.

In the last decade, the alcoholic beverage industry has seen bold new flavours, such as Strongbow Dark Fruit enter the market, introducing new favourites for young British consumers who want a drink to enjoy outdoors or out on the town. Hard seltzers have had a similar appeal to consumers in the US in recent years.

Hard seltzer tends to appeal to young consumers looking for healthy refreshment in a party atmosphere. According to a recent GlobalData case study, 'White Claw - The Pioneer Brand Making Hard Seltzer a Phenomenal Success in the US', interest towards alcoholic carbonated drinks is highest among Millennials, followed by Generation X.

Since 2018, White Claw has been the leading hard seltzer brand in the country. But, how will the brand take on an uncertain climate in COVID-19?

The White Claw range contains 100 calories, 2g carbs and hav an abv of 5%. According to the CEO of Mark Anthony Brands' international wing, Davin Nugent, for White Claw's US brand launch, the company did "extensive research in understanding the better-for-you, healthier and active lifestyle consumer behaviours that were occurring predominantly in America". He also notes huge simultaneous growth in non-alcoholic shelters, while highlighting the brand's gender-neutral focus as a key selling point. 

But, what will make White Claw stand out from its competitors in the UK? In the country's off-premise, Kopparberg's new hard seltzer has a retail price of GBP2.20 (US$2.70) per can - GBP030 cheaper than White Claw. Kopparberg's flavours of Mixed Berries, Black Cherry and Passion Fruit are well-suited for summer, as are White Claw's offerings of Mango, Natural Lime and Black Cherry. Both brands also offer a similar nutritional profile.

Where White Claw has a head start, however, is with its exposure on social media. Today, there are over 160,000 Instagram posts tagged #whiteclaw. Over on YouTube, a video made by US comedian Trevor Wallace, posted in June 2019 that generated the meme 'Ain't no laws when you're drinking Claws', has been viewed over 4.5m times. 

Even with the lockdown lifting in the UK, long queues can still be seen at supermarkets and smaller shops. Especially now that summer is underway, consumers will be shopping with more of a mind-set on accessibility to purchase a product as opposed to value. Plus, with more focus on availability through delivery channels, this may be a great opportunity to introduce new products at a premium price. As consumers grow accustomed to buying their groceries more frequently online, they'll more likely be looking to purchase beverages from the 'new' sections of grocery delivery services.

Additionally, being housebound has led many consumers to pursue a healthier lifestyle. They may be looking for new products to make it easier to stay healthy, either alongside - or as a shortcut around - a fitness routine. Consumers now have a more health-conscious approach than they had this time last year.

On top of the appeal for a low-calorie alternative, Nugent believes that the quality of White Claw - having had years of improvement on the brand - will be key towards tackling its bigger, noisier competitors. Beers and ciders are both still popular among young alcohol consumers in the UK who take a shine to bold flavours. With this new, more subtly-flavoured drink, White Claw's success will ultimately come from the quality of the product to deliver a great first impression.

After years of experience behind them, White Claw seems to have the full package to revolutionize the nation's appetite for alcoholic drinks.

Will White Claw's UK launch prove hard seltzer is lockdown resistant? - Click here for a just-drinks comment

Expert Analysis

Success Case Study: White Claw

Success Case Study: White Claw

Success Case Study: White Claw is part of GlobalData's Successes and Failures research. It examines the details of and reasons behind the success of White Claw hard seltzer in US. It delivers the crit...


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