The rapidly growing ready-to-drink spirits category added another player this week when Boston Beer’s Truly launched a new beverage.
Truly Vodka Seltzer, made with six-times-distilled premium vodka and real fruit juice, will be available nationally in four flavors — Blackberry and Lemon, Cherry and Lime, Pineapple and Cranberry, and Peach and Tangerine — starting Oct. 11.
“A trailblazer and tastemaker since coming onto the scene over five years ago, Truly is constantly innovating and challenging what drinkers expect from hard seltzer,” Matt Withington, director of marketing for Truly Hard Seltzer, said in a statement. “We’ve earned our role as the ultimate beyond beer destination and are ready to elevate the canned cocktail space with our first spirits-based seltzer.”
For Boston Beer, Truly has been among the best-selling hard seltzer brands in the category. But after posting triple-digit growth for years, the hard seltzer segment has seen sales slow. A major culprit has been the meteoric rise of ready-to-drink cocktails. Boston Beer has been hit harder than most. The company admitted earlier this year it overestimated demand for hard seltzer.
The debut of Truly Hard Seltzer should allow the brand to rebuff some of the encroachment from other RTD cocktails. But it’s hardly the only player in the segment.
Coca-Cola and Molson Coors said last week they will introduce Topo Chico Spirited in more than 20 markets across the U.S. in 2023. The CPG giant also has partnered with Brown-Forman on plans to introduce an RTD cocktail combining Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and the iconic soda brand. Heineken’s Dos Equis has launched a ready-to-drink cocktail with lime and tequila. And AB InBev has been a winner in the space following its 2019 purchase of Cutwater Spirits.
Ready-to-drink cocktails were the fastest growing spirits category in both revenue and volume in 2021, according to a recent report issued by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. It estimated supplier revenue for these cocktails and spirits rose 42.3% to $1.6 billion. The trade group found more than half of adults surveyed prefer spirits-based beverages to other RTD choices.