HARD SELTZER DRINKERS: THE BLURRING OF MYTH AND REALITY
Will the real hard seltzer drinker please stand up?
Yes, we know there’s no such thing as one “real” hard seltzer drinker. But there are two emerging narratives about the people who typically drink hard seltzer, and more importantly, why they drink it. The first narrative is fairly widespread and holds that the core drinker’s connection to the category has a lot to do with its role as a supposedly healthier alternative – which may conjure up images of working professional types enjoying hard seltzers with friends or co-workers after a long day at work or at small social gatherings (in non-pandemic times, of course).
Yet if you’ve been paying attention to the press or to social media, you’ve probably had at least a glimpse of a subculture that’s rapidly becoming associated with hard seltzer – men in their 20s with a streak of machismo, a bit of a herd instinct, and a consequences-be-damned spontaneity. It doesn’t take much online searching to find videos posted on social media of guys with cans of hard seltzer in their hands, congregating in the woods or on the beach, removed from civilization and releasing pent-up tensions with almost primal behavior – ranging from whooping and chanting to performing stunts that are too rowdy for prime time. Many articles refer to them as “bros” (which is understandable but arguably not the most fitting descriptor), while others are far more unflattering than that. And they seem to have embraced hard seltzer as a badge of everything they value.[i]
This group is only a very small part of the hard seltzer drinker base, but the data indicates they may already have become indelibly associated with the category. This may or may not be welcome information to those selling hard seltzer, but the truth is that it may not be an entirely bad thing.
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