‘From beer to beverage’ was the leading message from Budweiser Brewing Company at Parfett’s trade show this year, where the supplier unveiled major investment plans behind Mike’s Hard Seltzer and Bud Light Seltzer.

With younger consumers looking to moderate their alcohol consumption, opting for less sweeter profiles, but still keen on new flavours, this is where hard seltzers will take a strong lead in 2021.

According to Budweiser, hard seltzers tend to attract younger consumers compared to other alcohol sub-categories, and by 2024, it is predicted to be worth £200m in the UK.

“Our ambition in the segment is huge. We want to shape, lead and grow the category through Mike’s Hard Seltzer and Bud Light Seltzer; the former a more premium offering, while the latter playing in the core alcohol territory, leveraging the name of Bud Light.”

What you need to know about each brand

Mike’s Hard Seltzer

  • Mike’s Hard Seltzer was one of the first brand’s to enter the hard seltzers segment in the UK in 2020.
  • By addressing barriers in other alcohol sub-categories, such as the amount of sugar and calories, it bought in 28% incremental shoppers to the total alcohol category in 2020.
  • The brand has the number one repeat purchase rate in the hard seltzer segment, and the number one penetration of all hard seltzer brands in the UK.
  • In 2021, it plans to disrupt the category with an increased focus on sampling campaigns; a new flavour launch in Easter; a summer-focused campaign; as well as targeting Freshers events in September to the end of year.
  • At the end of last year, 25% of the brand’s sales went through the convenience channel.
  • Compared to Bud Light Seltzer, it is a more premium offering with the target audience being mid-20s to 30s.
  • With this age group concerned with new flavours and varieties, it wants to establish itself as solely a hard seltzers brand coming into the market on its own.
  • The supplier said as its Lemon variety wasn’t performing well last year, it plans to swap it out for a new Raspberry flavour.

Bud Light Seltzer

  • Bud Light Seltzer has been maturing in the US market for some time, so the supplier feels now is the right time to launch it in the UK.
  • Bud Light Seltzer contains just sparking water and fruit. But by leveraging the Bud Light branding, it aims to attract Bud Light drinkers to the hard seltzers segment by encouraging exploration. The drink itself is also low in alcohol and calories.  
  • Its core audience is 18-25-year-olds, with a focus on university students. It aims to be a gateway brand into hard seltzers, branding itself as a ‘category builder’.
  • With Bud Light the official beer of England, Bud Light Seltzer will also get behind the Euros with the rest of the Budweiser range benefitting from media exposure.