The only hurdle seemingly standing in the way of flavored malt-beverage (FMBs) or hard-seltzer consumption growth might be a lingering aluminum can shortage that, in part, stems from the production of, yes, hard seltzer brands themselves.
The prolific growth of FMBs helped undermine production of an array of canned beverages, including national beer and local crafts, in what was a supply-demand breach during mid- to late 2020.
The demand for all types of alcohol beverages spiked during the year of COVID-19. While beer case sales grew 8.9% in convenience stores in 2020, according to IRI data, one segment in particular—flavored malt beverages (FMBs)—posted nearly 60% unit growth.
In late February, Anheuser-Busch reported that sales at its “beyond beer” unit, which includes hard seltzers and ready-to-drink cocktails, grew double digits to top more than $1 billion.
Meanwhile, Smirnoff owner Diageo PLC in January reported a 47% jump in organic net sales for its ready-to-drink unit in North America over the last six months of 2020. The spirits giant launched a new seltzer under its Ketel One vodka brand late last year and said it plans to participate in the category in a bigger way in coming years.
Such action sets the for continued growth of a drink segment that is expected to grow 21.8% a year globally through 2024, taking share mainly from beer, as forecasted by industry tracker IWSR.
Click through for a look at eight recent FMB product launches across the burgeoning segment.