DENVER (CBS4/CNN) — White Claw is a victim of its own success: The hard seltzer brand confirmed a nationwide shortage in the United States, sparked by the drink’s rising popularity. Hard seltzer has become so popular in Colorado, there’s a hard seltzer festival and competition, called Fizz Fight, happening at Denver’s EXDO Event Center on Sept. 14.
“The trend has really hit home in Colorado, where you can find locally produced hard seltzers by breweries like Upslope, Verboten and Elvtd at 5280, a dedicated seltzery in Olde Town Arvada,” The Denver Post reported.
One liquor store clerk in Denver told CBS4 that sales of White Claw have eclipsed the sales of popular light beers such as Coors Light, Bud Light and Heineken.
“Super popular,” said Sanjit Bista with Watson’s Wine & Spirits. “We sell 100 to 150 cases a week.”
Bista said White Claw is slashing into the sales of certain light beers. Instead of ordering 50 or 60 cases a week of certain light beers, they’ve gone down to ordering about 20 cases per week.
At first, Bista said White Claw was mostly popular with women. He said that has changed and it’s equally popular with men.
“He loves White Claw,” Bista said, pointing to a customer.
The man agreed. When told the news of the shortage, he laughed, “Oh man, my world’s about to end.”
“We are working around the clock to increase supply given the rapid growth in consumer demand,” Sanjiv Gajiwala, White Claw’s senior vice president of marketing, told CNN Business. “White Claw has accelerated faster than anyone could have predicted.”
The company didn’t specify when stock will return to normal, but Gajiwala said it has been “allocating product to our distributor partners to keep all markets in stock the best we can and will continue to do so until we get back to our normal safety stock position.”
White Claw has blown up recently, sparking memes and trend pieces. Sales of the drink grew 283% to $327.7 million in July compared to the same period last year. Its sales also accounted for nearly 55% of all hard seltzer sales for the week of July 4, a 200% increase since 2018’s Fourth of July sales, according to data from Nielsen.
The beverage, which is the industry leader, was launched by Mike’s Hard Lemonade maker Mark Anthony Brands in 2016. That same year, Anheuser-Busch bought SpikedSeltzer, which led to Bon & Viv. Boston Beer began manufacturing Truly, another popular hard seltzer.
It took White Claw a while to catch on with drinkers. Now, people are seeking out drinks with fewer calories and less sugar, and seltzer fits the bill. White Claw and competitor Truly both have around 100 calories per can, and Bon & Viv has about 90 calories per can.
The fad isn’t fading, either. Last month, Anheuser-Busch launched a new line of spiked seltzer under the Natural Light brand, an affordable product marketed to college-aged drinkers.
“These new products can help those companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, ‘buffer those losses,'” Beth Bloom, associate director of US Food and Drink for Mintel previously told CNN Business, because beer sales are declining.
Alcohol drinkers have been generally favoring premium beer and liquor. Hard seltzer, a lower-calorie alternative to beer, could steal share away from light beers, according to a recent note from Macquarie Research.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)