Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The summer is over, but beer companies are banking the hard seltzer trend is here to stay. 

The big picture: Beer companies, which have been experiencing a dip in beer consumption, have pivoted to hard seltzers to accommodate Instagram-worthy cans and changing tastes. The low-calorie, fizzy waters so far have paid off, the Detroit Free Press reports.

  • “You may have seen Boston Beer Company’s hard seltzer line, Truly, alongside White Claw on many store and restaurant shelves."
  • "Anheuser-Busch has Bon & Viv, while MillerCoors has Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water."
  • "Pabst Blue Ribbon, Smirnoff and Natural Light all have hard seltzers now. Even Four Loko began hinting at one (at an insane 14% ABV!).”

By the numbers: Hard seltzer sales spiked 193% between April 2018 and April 2019, Nielsen data shows. Analysts predict the industry could become a $2.5 billion business by 2021.

  • White Claw alone had a reported 200% increase in sales over a 4-week span in July and has surpassed nearly all craft beer brands in sales, CBS' Milwaukee affiliate reports.

Background: The hype of a new alcoholic beverage isn’t a new concept. Mike’s Hard Lemonade sold 2 million cases in its first year in 1999. The brand still sustains today.

  • Others did not fare as well. Distributors aren’t moving hard root beer as quickly as they did when it debuted in 2015, when it was sold out everywhere within minutes, the Detroit Free Press notes.

The bottom line: "Convenience is king" for millennials with ready-to-drink, attractive and sleek-looking cans, per Nielsen.

Go deeper

17 mins ago - Podcasts

The fight over fracking

Fracking has become a flashpoint in the election's final week, particularly in Pennsylvania where both President Trump and Joe Biden made stops on Monday. But much of the political rhetoric has ignored that the industry has gone from boom to bust, beset by layoffs, bankruptcies and fire-sale mergers.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of fracking, and what it means for the future of American energy, with Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group.

Democrats sound alarm on mail-in votes

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Democrats are calling a last-minute audible on mail-in voting after last night's Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin.

Driving the news: Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes. They are warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to life in prison

Carts full of court documents related to the U.S. v. Keith Raniere case arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years in prison on Tuesday in federal court for sex trafficking among other crimes, the New York Times reports.

Catch up quick: Raniere was convicted last summer with sex trafficking, conspiracy, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, forced labor and possession of child pornography. His so-called self-improvement workshops, which disguised rampant sexual abuse, were popular among Hollywood and business circles.