Spiked seltzer: What to know about one of 2019’s biggest trends

A view of Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer product on display. There are dozens of brands of spiked seltzer, and big names are getting in on it. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for InStyle)

The alcoholic trend of the year has turned out to be spiked seltzer, and those in the brewing industry think seltzer sales have nowhere to go but up.

There are dozens of brands of spiked seltzer, and big names are getting in on it. The top sellers are White Claw, made by the same company that produces Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and Truly, a spiked Seltzer made by Boston Beer. Last week, Constellation Brands announced plans to roll out a Corona-branded hard seltzer.

Anheuser-Busch recently rolled out Natural Light Seltzer.

As many spiked seltzer choices as there are, many share a packaging thing in common: A white can.

“That may be a coincidence, but I think it actually represents the clear nature of the product. It is lower in alcohol. It’s lower in calories. And it’s easier to drink,” Craig Purser, with the National Beer Wholesalers Association, told WTOP.

“Lower in alcohol” depends on what you are comparing it to. Typically, a spiked seltzer has an alcohol by volume, or ABV, percentage of 5% on average. That’s about the same as a bottle of beer.

Most of the spiked seltzers stay around 100 calories per 12 ounces, less than most beers.

Spiked seltzer is, in fact, a brewed alcoholic beverage, like beer, not a distilled one.

“It is either made from a malt base, or from a very light sugar base,” Purser said.

Spiked seltzer is generally no more than flavored, alcoholic, carbonated water. Spiked Seltzer sales in the U.S. have risen almost 200% in the past year, according to research firm Nielsen.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up