'It Is Like a Runaway Train,' Boston Beer Company CMO Says Amid Hard Seltzer Boom

Hard seltzer has taken the summer by storm, becoming a popular go-to drink and creating a period of rapid growth.
"It is like a runaway train," Lesya Lysyj, CMO of The Boston Beer Company, told Cheddar Friday. "I mean, the category is growing by 200 percent. We actually sold more every week this summer than we did in the entire summer two summers ago."
The Boston Beer Company ($SAM) is the parent of Truly Hard Seltzer. The company said the seltzer is now bigger than Stella Artois and Blue Moon, as well as the whole cider category.
"What I think is happening is it's finding its place among the sugar trends and among lower alcohol trends. It's 100 calories, one gram of sugar. And what we're finding, actually, is that we're taking share from every category equally, so from wine, from beer, and from hard liquor."
While much of the marketing for Truly features summer scenery, Lysyj said the seasonality of the brand gets "less and less" every year. In Truly's first year, it was 90 percent in the summer, then shrank to 60 percent before starting to flatten out.
Now, Truly has ventured into bars with Truly on Tap. According to the brand, almost 70 percent of drinkers between 21 and 34 would choose hard seltzer over other types of alcohol at a bar or restaurant.
Truly on Tap began in early August, which also saw the launch of a new comedic campaign involving Keegan-Michael Key. The short spots show Key using other types of alcohol for grilling, cleaning, and more instead of drinking.
And it's not just a millennial audience that Truly is targeting.
"Because everybody's trying to reduce sugar across the board, what we're really trying to build is a megabrand that is for everybody," Lysyj said. "Optimistic, positive, and diverse, and for everyone. So we're finding that the span is bigger than we thought. We originally launched the brand thinking that it would be for women only, and we're finding 50/50 men and women, and we're just finding a much bigger audience than what we thought."
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