Just four days ago we wrote about the impending popularity of “hard seltzer”, the alcoholic, lightly flavoured sparkling water that last year broke the US and which many local brewers have since rushed to create.
Now Lion, the company behind beer brands including James Squire, Tooheys, Hahn and James Boag, has announced it’s signed an exclusive Australian distribution deal with White Claw, the hard seltzer that started it all. The drink will be available from October, initially in just three of the nine flavours: mango, lime and ruby grapefruit. More flavours will become available later. The local version will be slightly less boozy than its American counterpart, clocking in at 4.5 per cent ABV rather than five per cent.
“Making the decision to come here was an easy one. Consumers familiar with the brand in America have made sure to have their voices heard on our social media channels, demanding we bring White Claw to Aussie shores,” said Davin Nugent, CEO of Mark Anthony Brands International, White Claw’s parent company, in a statement.
White Claw is so popular stateside, there were actual shortages of it towards the end of last year. The four-year-old brand controls nearly 60 per cent of the US market and has become a full-blown pop culture phenomenon and the subject of countless memes. It even has its own cringey catchphrase: “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.”
Though it’s revered by millions of college kids and the wellness set, White Claw also attracts plenty of derision for its insipid flavour and obnoxious partying image. (Check this widely viewed video from comedian Trevor Wallace.)
“The popularity of White Claw cannot be disputed,” said James Brindley, managing director of Lion Australia. “Despite the fact the product has not actually been available in Australia up until now, it has well and truly earned its place in popular culture and is the market leader globally in this exciting new category. It is the most sought-after beverage brand in the world right now.
“It is a natural fit for our growing portfolio of adult beverages beyond our core beer range – and taps into a number of consumer trends around lower-calorie and lower-sugar products. We believe the seltzer category represents a significant growth opportunity for Lion over the coming years and we are looking forward to bringing the biggest seltzer brand in the world to Australia.”