White Claw lays out international expansion plans

Beyond the US, UK and Ireland, White Claw is available in 15 markets, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and Finland, with market share up for grabs in each.

“With beer as a major source of our volume, the category has great long-term growth potential,” says Nugent. “We believe that hard seltzers will continue to expand into more drinking occasions. One of the immediate growth frontiers will be the on-trade, particularly as venues are opening up after the pandemic.”

This has been the model in the States. Hard seltzer gaining market share from beer. Now in what must be of direct influence from this, the category is becoming increasingly filled with brands launched by brewing giants. Molson Coors has launched Three Fold, Heineken has launched Pure Piraña, Constellation Brands launched Corona Hard Seltzer, and Anheuser-Busch has launched a whole stable of hard seltzer brands. Nugent isn’t fazed.

“We welcome competition, as it signals a healthy, growing category,” he says. “Brand proliferation will die down and that the category will likely coalesce around a few major players. It’s in our interest to ensure that consumers adopt hard seltzers as part of their repertoire and key drinking occasions. Category buzz certainly aids that behaviour shift.”

The category has had its fair share of critics. When Boston Beer Company’s share price dived last Friday, articles appeared online immediately crying that the bubble had burst. But Nugent doesn’t think the detractors should be so hasty.

“This is not a fad,” he says. “Hard seltzer is a new category that better reflects the needs of today’s consumers, this is not going away. We believe the hard seltzer category has the potential to take the equivalent of 20% share of the beer category.”