Spiked Seltzer Grows In Popularity Among Millennials—And New Englanders

hard seltzer crop

(Facebook.com/Truly Hard Seltzer)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — More and more millennials are drinking spiked seltzer—so much so that sales are up 193 percent, compared to 1 percent for beer.

Danelle Kosmal, Vice President of Beverage Alcohol Practice at Nielsen, told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe that people are much more health conscious these days, and hard seltzer meets that need.

"Low sugar, low carb, low calorie, and lower ABV—which is really fulfilling that new trend of mindful drinking," Kosmal said. "Interesting flavors. Even convenience, with things like packaging in cans."

What's more, New Englanders especially seem to love it.

According to Google Trends data, the six New England states had the most "spiked seltzer" searches, and Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire rounded out the top four states for interest in the word "seltzer."

They have a lot of local options. Truly, the Boston Beer Company's hard seltzer offering, launched a few years ago; Boston's Harpoon Brewery recently partnered with Worcester-based Polar Beverages for their Arctic Summer collaboration; Wachusett started selling their Nauti Seltzer line in 2016.

J.J. Foley's Bar and Grill in Boston only started selling spiked seltzer this summer, but Fourth-generation owner James Foley said they already go through eight cases a week.

"Demand was very high, so we brought on a couple different flavors," he said. "Both have done pretty well."

Cans of spiked seltzer have been flying off the shelves at the Cheers pub at Faneuil Hall, "about two or three cases a week," according to Assistant GM Phil Varcholik.

"The Sam Adams one's probably the best selling, 'cause we do a lot of Sam Adams business, so the Truly sells a lot," he said. "But the Wachusett is a very local one also, and they have the watermelon flavor no one else does, so we sell a lot of that one."

He said they started selling the bubbly beverage when customers began asking for them. Demand has only gone up from then.

"From about three years ago until now, it's probably doubled," he said.

So what are customers saying?

"It's a good alternative to beer, tastes good, it's a little lighter," said one J.J. Foley's patron named Chuck. "All my friends enjoy it."

Another customer named Blake touted hard seltzer's healthier qualities, and said it doesn't leave much of a hangover.

"I'm getting older, I'm in my upper 20s, so you've got to be more careful what you're eating and drinking," said Blake. "They're a nice light, delicious, and refreshing beverage on a hot summer day. They don't do too much damage on the way down."

Foley said he sees the drink being popular among both sexes.

"I'm definitely seeing some men try it," he said. "I would say for us, it's still majority women, majority young people for sure. But yeah, some younger guys are trying it."

"When I first started drinking them, people talked about how they were made for women, very sweet, kind of fruity a little bit," said another man drinking a seltzer at Foley's. "But guys love 'em, and we pound 'em just as well!"

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WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports

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