Anheuser-Busch InBev Banks on Hard Seltzer

The company sees a future in alcoholic seltzer as beer consumption continues to fall in the United States. 

January 22, 2020

ST. LOUIS—Last year, beer consumption plummeted 2.3% in the United States, according to IWSR, CNBC reports. Those numbers have Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito betting that hard seltzer will help make up the difference. “It is something that’s profitable, it’s here to stay,” Brito said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” this week.

The brewer’s Bon & Viv brand is one of the top seltzers on the market. AB InBev also has a National Light seltzer and will debut Bud Light Seltzer during the Super Bowl in an ad. Last summer, hard seltzer really came into its own with approximately the same alcohol volume as beer but with fewer calories. Hard seltzer now comprises 2.6% of the total U.S. alcohol market, up sharply from 0.85% a year ago, according to IWSR.

Convenience stores are getting into the beer market by launching their own brews. For example, Kwik Trip debuted its own beer—Glazer Bean—in November. The chain teamed up with Karben4 Brewing to concoct its first private-label brew.

Meanwhile, this year, Wawa is bringing back its first, personalized beer, along with three new ones, for a limited time. Two years ago, the chain collaborated with 2SP Brewing Co. for Winter Reserve Coffee Stout, made with its Winter Reserve Coffee.