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Hard seltzer empties are scattered at an Easter party in New York's Central Park. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

A new survey of college students finds that the hard seltzer trend isn't going away.

The big picture: The shift among young adults toward spiked seltzers — and away from cheap beer — will prompt lasting changes in the alcohol industry.

By the numbers: After a pandemic boom, recent sales data indicates that interest in hard seltzer brands might be slowing, with the spiked seltzer maker Boston Beer warning in late June that earnings would come in below analyst forecasts.

Yes, but: No one has told college kids about that.

  • Axios received an early look at a new survey of college students' drinking preferences and brand perception from the polling and research firm Generation Lab.
  • Respondents were asked to rank 13 alcoholic brands — a mix of beers, wines and hard seltzer. The results show that seltzer industry leader White Claw was seen as the coolest brand, while White Claw and its rival Truly were viewed as "on the rise."

What they're saying: While beer brands like Bud Light and Corona were viewed by respondents as having the most brand exposure — mostly through ads — the seltzer brands "are something respondents were increasingly seeing at parties and other social events," says Cyrus Beschloss, CEO of Generation Lab.

The bottom line: While hard seltzer sales might level off — in part due to the reopening of bars — beer and hard liquor drinking trends for young people "are changing in a way that seems relatively permanent, and they're going to stay with seltzer," Beschloss says.

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Sep 9, 2021 - Axios Denver

Where to celebrate Denver Beer Week

A vendor at the 2014 Craft Brewers Conference in Denver. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Great American Beer Festival is canceled again. And other Denver beer events followed suit.

The good news: The nation's top craft brewers are still coming to Colorado this week — and bringing beer just in time for Denver Beer Week.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.