White Claw is America’s top-selling hard seltzer, but industry analysts expect rival spiked seltzer brands will soon chip away at its dominance.
One to watch is Truly, which is Boston Beer’s version of White Claw. Analysts at Guggenheim forecast sales of the alcoholic drink to grow three-fold over the next two years, according to a new report released Monday.
Truly sales will help bolster Boston Beer’s bottom line so much that the analysts have raised its earnings estimates for the next three years. That’s welcome news for investors: Guggenheim analysts said its beer brands, such as Samuel Adams and Dogfish Head, are “performing below what we expected.”
Boston Beer’s (SAM) stock rose 4% Monday and is now up nearly 50% for the year. Guggenheim raised its share price target to $462 from $449 per share.
White Claw is the industry leader, commanding 58% of spiked seltzer sales, according to Guggenheim. The brand has been the drink of the summer, sparking memes, social media affection and even a shortage because of its distribution practices.
The analysts said that White Claw’s dominance doesn’t pose a “major risk to Truly’s growth.” The sector has expanded 200% over the last year as the number of brands selling spiked seltzer have doubled.
Other competitors include Bon & Viv and Natural Light Seltzer, which is manufactured by Anheuser-Busch (BUD). That company is reportedly launching a third hard seltzer drink with Bud Light branding. The company recently told CNN Business that Bon & Viv sales have increased year-over-year, but Guggenheim said it’s losing share of the market compared to rivals.
Truly has also said it’s facing a shortage, which Guggenheim said might be hindering its sales. The company told CNN Business on Monday that it’s still “working hard to keep up with demand” and is working on variations of the drink, including a draft version called Truly on Tap.
Sales of spiked seltzer have soared as people seek drinks with fewer calories and less sugar. Spiked seltzer fits the bill. White Claw and competitor Truly both have around 100 calories per can, and Bon & Viv has about 90 calories per can.
Spiked seltzer is now a billion dollar industry. Sales of hard seltzer surpassed $1 billion for the past year ending in August — a surge of nearly 200% compared to the previous year, according to Nielsen. Hard seltzer makes up 2.5% of the alcohol market, up from 0.9% a year ago.