An overall health and wellness transformation in the U.S., driven by changing consumer preferences, wellness initiatives and regulations, has disrupted the national beverage industry. Traditional soda giants and megabrewers are now struggling to meet the demands of a new Millennial cohort and compete with smaller “alternative” brands.
Beverage Giants Play Off Bottled Water and Seltzer Boom with New Products
Despite an abundance of clean tap water in the U.S., bottled water sales have more than doubled in the past 15 years. A total of 11.7 billion gallons of water were purchased in 2015 alone, reports Business Insider. Seltzer sales have also skyrocketed in the recent period, growing at a rate of 42% over the past five years.
As soda sales plummet, beer and spirits companies figure they can also get in on the shift to healthier seltzer and water choices with new spiked drinks and premium bottled waters. Perhaps the health-conscious Millennial drinker would be more tempted to buy a “premium” spiked seltzer infused with “natural flavors” over a beer.
Wave of Spiked Water and Premium Water Brands
On Monday, MillerCoors-owned Henry’s Hard Soda launched a line of spiked sparkling waters called Henry’s Hard Sparkling. “Henry’s Hard Sparkling is perfect for those looking to treat themselves, lightly,” said Josh Wexelbaum, MillerCoors marketing director for Henry’s Hard Sparkling. Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP) agreed to buyout SABMiller’s stake in the joint operation for $12 billion. (See also: General Mills, Mondelez Eye 'Wellness' Millennials.)
Chicago-based MillerCoors isn’t the first to experiment with the trend. Henry’s Hard Sparkling follows suit of Smirnoff’s Spiked Sparking Seltzer, SpikedSeltzer, Truly Spiked And Sparkling, White Claw Hard Seltzer and countless of other lesser known brands.
Soft drink giants such as PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) and the Coca-Cola Co. (KO) have also entered the emerging market, evident as Pepsi took out Super Bowl ad time to debut its new water brand LIFEWTR. (See also: Heineken Wants Drinkers to Become Craft Beer Snobs.)