The Australian boom in seltzer isn't going anywhere.
As this feature on The Shout points out, hard seltzers now make up 16% of the Australian RTD category, and growth of the category is predicted to be 40.3% CAGR between 2023-2027.
Yet the market - which is still young, given that the category only really kicked off here in Australia four years ago - is changing, and changing fast.
In our spring 2022 seltzer profile, we noted how spirits-based seltzers were starting to compete with traditional malt-based versions. Now that's only accelerated, mirroring the US trends where US malt-based seltzers were growing at 149% in 2020-2021 (according to IWSR figures) and have since fallen back to earth. Conversely, spirits-based versions are growing at a monster 121% over the past year in the US.
Indeed, IWSR figures suggest that premium premixed cocktails will overtake seltzers by 2025, helping to drive global RTD sales to $11.6 billion.
Locally, it's not quite as clear cut because some of the local craft-brewed seltzers tend to blur the lines, presenting higher quality products that have more enduring appeal. As we discussed earlier in the year, the biggest movers in RTDs will be more about provenance and substance as well as flavour diversity.
As we'll see below, that push to flavour differentiation is demonstrated in Kaddy Marketplace sales, too, with the top-selling seltzers of autumn prioritising quality components and smart packaging to win over drinkers.
What's especially noticeable about this selection is the brands behind the brands. W Seltzer, for example, comes out of the Local Drinks Collective stable (makers of Wayward Brewing). Or the SOMETIMES seltzers, which come from cult craft heroes Range Brewing.
Looking into the future and it has been suggested that 'innovation and imagination, ingredient selection, and even imperial styles' could prove a way forward. Also, non-alc is an impossible-to-ignore subset of this segment, with non-alc seltzers and RTD cocktails climbing in popularity fast, albeit off a low base (which we covered in this feature) and that's barely scratching the wellness/good for you angle of drinks that are less than 100 calories.
What do you think is the future of seltzers?
(Based on Kaddy Marketplace sales volumes spanning 1st March to 31st May 2023)