Sep 8, 2019

The hard seltzer gamble

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

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.