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Two years ago, hard seltzers seemed to be the categorical threat stalking traditional beer. They ate up cold-box space and turned drinkers’ attention toward the light, clear, and fruity. They’re not by any means going to disappear, but they are, perhaps, receding as “the next hot thing.”
“The last two years when we meet with retailers for big end-of-summer meetings, they’ve said the same thing: ‘Thank god you didn’t bring another seltzer here. We just listened to 40 seltzer pitches,’” says Doug Veliky, chief strategy officer for Chicago’s Revolution Brewing.
As seltzer pressure ebbs, though, the “beyond beer” space isn’t going away—it’s just shifting. Other products have arrived to vie for shelf space, distributor share-of-mind, and consumer dollars. Chief among those: ready-to-drink, canned cocktails (RTDs).