It’s truly hard to appreciate just how much the craft beer landscape has changed over the course of the past decade or so unless you remember the days when the hardest decision you had to make at the store was choosing between Sierra Nevada or Sam Adams when you were in the mood for something fancy.
I was in college when the microbrew movement started to pick up steam, and as someone who’d previously subsisted on whatever beer offered the most alcohol for the lowest price point, my mind was blown when I polished off three bottles of 90 Minute without checking the ABV and discovered you could get drunk and please your tastebuds at the same time.
However, I can’t think of a more formative drinking moment than the night a friend of mine came back from winter break sporting a four-pack of tallboys from a brewery in Vermont and implored me to take a sip of what was far and away the best beer I’d ever tasted.
The beer in question was Heady Topper, which had an indelible impact on the beer world and helped blaze a path for the uber-hoppy hazy brews that have become all the rage in recent years.
The craft beer industry continues to grow at an impressive rate but there are more than a few people who think it’s a bubble on the verge of bursting as the market becomes increasingly saturated. Now, a new challenger has emerged, and while it may not pose an existential threat, it’s certainly hard to ignore.
Look, I love crushing a triple IPA made with seven different hops sourced from three continents as much as the next guy but there’s only so much abuse my palate (and wallet) can take. As a result, I’ve started to explore some alternative options and have found one in the form of hard seltzer.
It turns out I’m not the only one, as according to CBS58, consumers have fallen in love with boozy sparkling water—specifically White Claw—to a point where sales have surpassed every single craft beer on the market aside from Blue Moon.
The outlet reports White Claw is now one of the top 25 best-selling malt-based beverages in America and that restaurants and retailers are starting to take note of its popularity as more and more drinkers figuratively dip their toes into the sparkling water.
As someone who crushed a few too many White Claws over the Fourth of July weekend, I can certainly understand the appeal. In addition to going down a little too easy, it’s also nice to be able to convince myself I’m being healthy regardless of what certain medical professionals may have to say. about my drinking tendencies
Craft beer might not be going anywhere but it certainly looks like White Claw is here to stay.