Over the past few summers, consumers looking for healthier alternatives to beer or sugary drinks have turned to hard seltzers. While White Claw and Truly have occupied the lion’s share of the market, competition has recently revved up. Can we expect hard seltzers to reach a tipping point in popularity this year? Or has seltzer established a lasting place among summer drink coolers?

Looking at U.S. adults’ (21+) experience with spiked seltzer over the last two years, we see a general decline in satisfaction and intent to try. The year 2020 was a good one for alcohol-infused seltzers with 22% of drinking-age adults favorable to the beverages. Since then, the percentage of those who enjoy spiked seltzers has decreased by four percentage points, and overall plans to give them a try have decreased from 8% to 5%.

As of this writing, the percentage of Americans 21 and older who like to drink hard seltzers is equal to the percentage who do not like to drink hard seltzers.

Spiked Seltzer Drinkers

Looking deeper at the profile of spiked seltzer drinkers, women appear to be the most enthusiastic drinkers of boozy carbonation, as well as people making more than $150K annual income.

Looking at correlations with overall drinking habits, the data show that people who say they are willing to pay more for high-quality ingredients in food and drink have a greater chance of liking spiked seltzer.

Sparkling wine drinkers are nearly three times as likely as those who don’t drink sparkling wine to have tried spiked seltzer and liked it (28%). And over one-quarter of those who drink clear spirits, also enjoy spiked seltzer (26%), far outweighing the 6% of those who don’t drink clear spirits that enjoy seltzer.

And when it comes to non-alcoholic beverages, spiked seltzer drinkers are also significantly more likely than non-drinkers to agree that they need coffee to wake up in the morning (15%).

Spiked Seltzer Brands

Many well-known beer brands have tried their hand at making spiked seltzer, but few have developed a solid following. White Claw has gained the largest share of brand recognition as well as positive experience among consumers. Truly is close behind, with 9% having a positive experience with their beverages, and Henry’s (4%). Interestingly, the percentage of those having a positive, negative, or neutral experience with these brands is nearly evenly matched. 

New trends, like canned cocktails, have begun to emerge. Will these new offerings gain enough traction to overshadow the portion of the market committed to hard seltzer? CivicScience will continue to track beverage preferences among American consumers.