Editor’s Notebook: Seltzer and the Super Bowl

The beverage ecommerce service Drizly shares its data on what people drank during one of the year’s biggest weekends for parties and advertising.

Joe Stange Feb 6, 2020 - 4 min read

Editor’s Notebook: Seltzer and the Super Bowl Primary Image

As I write to you from the Super Bowl champion state of Missouri—or is it the great state of Kansas?—I am parsing through some unusual stats from an unusual company. As an intersection of two major drinks trends—hard seltzer and home delivery—the data offer an interesting snapshot.

Whether you’re familiar with Drizly—a web-based service connecting drinkers with retailers that deliver booze—might depend on which state you’re in. That is, it might depend on how friendly your state’s laws are to shipping alcohol. Missouri is not the friendliest in that regard (neither is the great state of Kansas, for that matter). Or, it might depend on whether you’re in a large enough city. Where I live, there is no same-day delivery service, and to order shipping from an in-state retailer carries an extra fee of at least $19. For most things, it’s not worth it here... yet. I look forward to a time when a winter morning's hankering for Baltic porter leads to Komes on my doorstep by evening.

Still, Drizly bills itself as the “world’s largest alcohol marketplace,” partnering with retailers in more than 100 North American cities. So even if the service isn’t very active yet in some states, it still represents a pretty large data set.

Here are some of the things that Drizly observed:

  • The only product that got a significant boost from Super Bowl ads was Bud Light Seltzer. In the two weeks running up to the Super Bowl, when its commercials were aired, Bud Light Seltzer sales on Drizly increased 95 percent the first week and 55 percent the second.
  • White Claw didn’t run any ads, but it still led the hard-seltzer category overall during Super Bowl weekend.
  • In general, hard seltzer has been increasing as a percentage of “beer sales.” It was 20 percent of those sales on Super Bowl weekend, but 18 percent the previous two weekends.
  • Top beers sold in the Super Bowl cities: In San Francisco, it was Corona, Bud Light, Sierra Nevada, Crispin Cider, and Modelo; in Kansas City, it was Bud Light, Peroni, and Boulevard.

Meanwhile, Drizly also shared with us its data on the growth of seltzer sales. Two years ago, hard seltzer was 2 percent of overall “beer sales.” Last month it was 18 percent. Current sales are 222 percent higher than a year ago, and 856 percent higher than two years ago.

Being more interested in the craft-beer sales, we asked Drizly for more info on that. For now, craft beer is still outselling hard seltzer on the big weekend, being 24 percent of beer sales to seltzer’s 20 percent. Obviously, that may not be the case next year.

Finally, here are the top 10 craft-beer brands sold via Drizly during Super Bowl weekend:

  1. Sierra Nevada
  2. Montauk
  3. Bell’s
  4. Brooklyn
  5. Founders
  6. New Belgium
  7. Sixpoint
  8. Downeast Cider
  9. Night Shift
  10. Yuengling

It may be obvious, but the strength here of Montauk (New York), Brooklyn (New York), Sixpoint (New York), Downeast (Boston), and Night Shift (Boston) points toward a likely concentration of Drizly retail partners in those major metro areas. So, there is some geographic bias—and an indication of where people have more readily taken to using Drizly.

Joe Stange is Managing Editor of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and the Brewing Industry Guide®. Have story tips or suggestions? Contact him at [email protected].