The Sam Adams maker is debuting a new offering in the booze-free category and using it as a platform to debut direct-to-consumer shipping.

Boston Beer fuses beer and seltzer flavors in nonalcoholic offering

Courtesy of Boston Beer

Dive Brief:

  • Boston Beer introduced a line of nonalcoholic brews called General Admission that the company says unites the flavors of alcohol-free beer and fruity seltzer with less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. The drinks consist of 40% nonalcoholic beer and 60% fruited seltzer. They are available in four flavors: Lemon-Lime, Orange Ovation, Grapefruit Groove and Raspberry Remix.
  • The maker of Sam Adams and Truly Hard Seltzer said the new offerings are designed for consumers who want to limit their alcohol intake without sacrificing flavor.
  • General Admission is available at retail in select markets, including Albany, New York, and Raleigh, North Carolina. It is Boston Beer’s first product available through direct-to-consumer shipping nationwide.

Dive Insight:

Once dismissed by consumers and industry analysts as a sleepy category, the nonalcohol space is now one of the fastest-growing in beverages.

General Admission signals Boston Beer’s willingness to use this trendy category as a space for experimentation. 

In the press release, Tim Kerrigan, the brewer’s head of innovation, said the company wanted to create a unique product line that “offers a broader view of what non-alc could be.” According to NIQ data, sales of zero-proof beverages increased 30% in 2023, making it a bigger category than hard cider, which includes Boston Beer’s Angry Orchard.

“We believe it’s actually alcohol drinkers that are the primary consumers of non-alc products,” Kerrigan said. “We must find a way to make something that appeals to everyone, whether they drink spirits, beer, wine or only non-alc.”

The willingness to experiment without the distribution hurdles tied to alcohol is influencing Boston Beer’s distribution strategy with General Admission. Kerrigan said the company will use General Admission to test out both the nonalcoholic category and the DTC shipping model. 

The flood of high-profile nonalcoholic and low-ABV offerings comes as Gen Z consumers report imbibing less than previous generations.

Nonalcoholic beer, anchored by brands such as Athletic Brewing and zero-proof spirits like Mingle Mocktails, are popular with consumers at bars and social gatherings where they can avoid the negative health impact or hangover effect of alcohol. Leading hard seltzer brand White Claw launched its first nonalcoholic offering earlier this year, citing the growing number of young drinkers abstaining from alcohol.

Many leading beer brands have capitalized on the growth in nonalcoholic offerings. Boston Beer’s Sam Adams entered the space with Just The Haze, a zero-proof IPA, in 2021. 

  • Behind White Claw’s big nonalcoholic seltzer bet By Chris Casey • Feb. 6, 2024
  • Booze or bust: How 2024 will reshape alcohol By Chris Casey • Jan. 25, 2024
  • Boston Beer brings Truly into tequila soda to help revive brand By Chris Casey • March 20, 2024
  • Mingle Mocktails aims to spark a zero-proof cocktail craze By Chris Casey • April 17, 2024

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