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More Lessons Beer Can Learn from FMBs, RTDs, Energy Drinks & Beyond

You don’t have to join ’em to beat ’em. Trends in flavored malt beverages, canned cocktails, and even nonalcoholic products suggest new ways to develop and market beer that connects with today’s exploratory drinkers.

Kate Bernot Jul 18, 2022 - 9 min read

More Lessons Beer Can Learn from FMBs, RTDs, Energy Drinks & Beyond Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy New Belgium Brewing

People who have been in the beer business for a decade or more likely hear the phrase “flavored malt beverage” (FMB) and cringe. Yet it’s undeniable that today’s alcohol landscape is more competitive and varied than ever, with brands such as White Claw, Lone River Ranch Water, and Twisted Tea winning over the same drinkers that beer would like to court.

Then there are the canned, spirits-based cocktails such as High Noon that are increasing their share of the alcohol market. Among all the newly launched ready-to-drink (RTD) products in the United States in 2020, 31 percent were spirits-based, according to IWSR research—and they’re expected to increase their market share as they become more widely available.

Why should craft breweries pay attention to the deepening sea of hard seltzers, hard teas, hard kombuchas, canned vodka sodas, pre-mixed micheladas, margarita-flavored ranch waters, or even energy drinks and sodas?

Because their customers are.

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