Bud Light Seltzer sales spike after debut

But still not as fizzy as White Claw

Michael Calhoun
February 24, 2020 - 10:19 am
Bud Light Seltzer


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- Did you see the video of a BattleHawks player using his teeth to rip the lid off a can of Bud Light Seltzer? He guzzles it, then smashes the can on his head.

After their first home victory, St. Louis' XFL players even doused their coach with cans of it.

Turns out, locally-based Anheuser-Busch, part of A-B InBev, also has a lot to celebrate.

Since debuting earlier this year, Bud Light Seltzer has already grabbed 11 percent of the market.

"You can literally see it (jump) from one week to the next," Beer Business Daily executive editor Jennifer Kirk tells us while looking at the numbers. "It all of a sudden within seltzer gets an eight share literally in like a week."

White Claw still dominates with approximately 60 percent, followed by Truly's 20 percent.

(Truly, if you weren't aware, is owned by the Boston brewery that makes Samuel Adams.)

She says Bud Light Seltzer is by far the most successful of A-B's three seltzer brands, one of which is a Natty Light spin-off and the other is called Bon & Viv.

Is the Bud Light name prompting people to pick up a box?

"A-B is really trying to say, 'hey here's a trusted brand from another segment,'" Kirk explains. "They're trying to split the difference and get both Bud Light fans and those who aren't but who know and trust the brand."

A commercial jokes that if you like Bud Light, you'll like the seltzer, but that you'll also like it if you're not a fan of the beer.

Kirk also points to A-B's ability to muscle new products onto store shelves.

"The overnight share has to do with just how robust the A-B distribution network is," she says. "Now, as the weeks continue to go, we'll see how much consumers repeat buy and that's what's really important" as 40 to 50 new seltzer brands elbow for shelf space.

For the original Bud Light, by the way, trajectory isn't as bright.

Kirk says light beer "has been declining for as long as I can remember now." She observes that A-B would rather sell more high-end (and higher-price) products like Michelob Ultra anyway.

Why is spiked seltzer so popular? Two reasons: fruity flavors and it's less filling.

Bud Light Seltzer comes in four flavors: black cherry, lemon lime, strawberry, and mango.

"One of the things they're hammering home is that it tastes great, because this segment really is all about flavor," Kirk says.

She thinks spiked seltzer could grab up to ten percent of beer sales.