Anheuser Busch InBev is betting on hard seltzer as beer consumption continues to fall in the United States.
“It is something that’s profitable, it’s here to stay,” CEO Carlos Brito said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.
The Bud Light brewer owns Bon & Viv, one of the top three seltzer brands, along with White Claw and Boston Beer’s Truly. But it also sells seltzer from Natural Light, one of its beer brands, and will showcase its new Bud Light Seltzer with a Super Bowl advertisement.
U.S. beer consumption has been declining in recent years as consumers choose other kinds of alcohol or opt out of drinking alcohol altogether. In 2019, it fell by 2.3%, according to data from IWSR.
Hard seltzer, on the other hand, was the drink of the summer in 2019. It has roughly the same alcohol by volume as a beer and a low-calorie count, which appeals to health conscious consumers who have turned away from beer. The alcoholic beverage makes up 2.6% of the total U.S. market for alcohol, up from 0.85% a year ago, according to the IWSR.
AB InBev is not the only brewer diversifying its portfolio as consumer tastes change. Rival Molson Coors Beverage changed its name in January as it looks to non-beer drinks for future sales growth.