Corona to tap into canned hard seltzer market

Constellation Brands has become the latest brewer and distiller to unveil a range of canned hard seltzers as growing demand for low-calorie alcopops undercuts beer sales in the US.

The Victor, New York-based company will launch four flavours of drinks under its Corona beer brand, chief executive Bill Newlands told CNBC. The 4.5 per cent ABV tropical lime, mango, cherry and blackberry lime drinks will go on sale in the US in March and will be packaged in 473ml cans, according to promotional images.

Corona, which has been selling a fruit-flavoured malt beverage under the Refresca brand since 2018, has earmarked US$40 million to market the new products, Newlands revealed.

“Our belief is our Corona hard seltzer is going to be a really important player in this market,” Newlands told CNBC. He added that he thought sales of hard seltzers would double in the next 12 months from “60 million cases last year… and we’re going to get a significant share of that market”.

While Constellation is seeing no let-up in growth in its beer division, with net sales of brands such as Corona and Modelo surging 8.3 per cent in the three months to the end of November, it is joining a slew of other brewers in the hard seltzer market. 

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Bon & Viv and Bud Light Hard Seltzer ranges are among those released by big-name beer makers to take on the likes of fast-growing products such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade and White Claw. They have prospered amid a six per cent decline in beer sales in the past four years, according to research company Nielsen.