Those who deride White Claw as a trivial Millennial distraction might want to take a look at these numbers: White Claw’s vice president of marketing, Sanjiv Gajiwala, told a panel organized by CNN Business that the company expects to do more than $1.5 billion in sales this year. Yes, billion. For comparison, Brown-Forman, which owns Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Herradura, Finlandia, Korbel, and a handful of other booze labels, did $3.3 billion in net sales in fiscal year 2019 across all of those brands. White Claw plans to continue on its path toward world domination with three new flavors launching next year: watermelon, lemon, and tangerine.
Though it’s expanding its flavor lineup, White Claw notes it doesn’t want to introduce too many options: “I think one of the things that’s drawn people to White Claw is the simplicity. A lot of the other seltzer brands have 12, 13, 14 flavors,” Gajiwala told the panel.
White Claw is owned by Mark Anthony Brands, the same company that brought us Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a phenomenon in its own right when it launched in 1999. It may be difficult for some of us to remember the craze around Mike’s Hard, which subsequently expanded into 14 flavors and was in large part responsible for the hard soda craze a few years ago. While some drinkers may turn their noses up at these brands as faddish drops in the bucket, Mike’s Hard Lemonade is still around, if not at the popularity it once enjoyed. And Mark Anthony Brands’ success with both Mike’s Hard and White Claw indicates there’s always a new, trendy style of alcohol out there ready to take the grocery store booze case by storm—and make a shit ton of money in the process.