US – Boston Beer, a leading independent, American craft brewer, has partnered with premium spirits maker Beam Suntory to take on the emerging alcoholic beverage categories that are taking the market by storm.   

Boston Beer is the maker of the popular Sam Adams beer that debuted in the US in 1984 and the recently introduced Truly Hard Seltzer. 

Beam Suntory on the other hand produces a number of leading premium spirits brands including Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands, Sauza tequila, and Pinnacle vodka. 

As part of the collaboration, Beam Suntory’s Sauza tequila brand will expand into additional RTD formats by leveraging Boston Beer’s expertise, production capabilities, and distribution footprint. 

Boston Beer will, on the other hand, leverage the new partnership to expand Truly Hard Seltzer, said to be the fastest-growing hard seltzer on the market, into bottled spirits.  

Staying ahead of the curve

While beer, wine, and spirits have long dominated the alcohol category, RTD is a fast-growing segment that is projected to become the second-largest alcohol beverage category in the U.S. in terms of volume consumption, according to IWSR. 

This segment, which includes hard seltzer, saw the biggest gains in alcohol beverage consumption in the U.S. last year, a clear indication of its potential in the years to come.  

According to IWSR, RTDs grew 62.3% by volume in 2020, making them larger in volume than total spirits volume in the US. IWSR projects that by the end of 2021, it will be larger than total wine.

“Our industry is rapidly evolving, and consumers are looking for new and exciting options that suit a wide variety of occasions,” said Dave Burwick, CEO of The Boston Beer Company. 

“This unique, win-win collaboration opens a new frontier for our industry-leading Truly Hard Seltzer brand as we expand into bottled spirits and also allows us to bring a great tequila brand into our best-in-class wholesaler network.” 

As consumers gravitate toward RTD beverages and new flavor offerings, alcohol companies have moved aggressively to enter new categories. 

Molson Coors has for instance set its foot into the RTD space through its partnership with Superbird, a blue agave tequila-based cocktail. 

Anheuser-Busch has also made inroads into the lucrative segment through its distribution deal with cocktail company Canteen Spirits.  

Boston Beer and Beam Suntory are the latest companies to show interest in having a greater footing in the fast-growing alcoholic beverage categories.  

Their foray shows that although they continue to post healthy growth in the short term, they are keenly aware that many consumers are looking for more than just the same beer or bourbon that has been around for decades.  

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