Distribution Strategy for Hard Seltzer: Reaching the Target

Gracie Tidwell
Table of Contents
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    The refreshing taste of hard seltzer coupled with its health benefits made it one of the biggest beverage trends in recent years. The growth in the beverage industry has many business owners rethinking their alcohol distribution strategies. Having a strong distribution strategy is vital in today’s competitive market. Learn more about how to build a hard seltzer distribution strategy that helps your company reach its goals.  

    Hard Seltzer Distribution Strategy: Understanding the Target Market

    In order to perfect your hard seltzer distribution strategy, it’s vital to understand the target market for your product. 

    The growth of hard seltzers in recent years has caused an uptick in their consumption by all age groups and genders. However, hard seltzers are most popular among Gen-Z and Millennial women. Several factors contribute to the popularity of this product. 

    The younger generations are more likely to try new or novelty products. You can use this as part of your distribution strategy by offering unique or innovative flavors. They are more likely to experiment and purchase products that look interesting, even if they haven’t tried it before. 

    Another factor that contributes to the popularity of hard seltzers among these generations is social media. Young alcohol consumers access social media more than other generations. Hard seltzers’ rise in popularity is due in part to the social media buzz around the drink. Social media campaigns, celebrity endorsements, and influencers all increased the consumption of hard seltzers. This is important to note because social media is a great tool to have as part of your distribution strategy.

    Women consume hard seltzers more often than men. The main reason for hard seltzers’ popularity among women is the refreshing, light taste, and low-calorie options. These features are all desired by female alcohol consumers and make hard seltzer an appealing choice.

    Another reason hard seltzer is so popular is because of its association with healthy lifestyle choices. Beverage and food trends over recent years show that consumers value health when purchasing products. Hard seltzers appeal to this lifestyle because of their healthy qualities when compared to other beverages. 

    Hard seltzers have a low ABV. Averaging between 4%-7% ABV (see: ABV calculator), hard seltzers contain significantly less alcohol than the average liquor or wine alcohol content. Many consumers in today’s market want options that have low alcohol. This is largely due to health and lifestyle choices.

    Hard seltzers are also low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-carb. They are keto and gluten-free. These are all very appealing qualities to health-conscious consumers. The health attributes of hard seltzers are smart to use in your distribution strategy. 

    Key Takeaway: It’s important to understand your target market in order to create the best distribution strategy for your hard seltzer business. Hard seltzers appeal mainly to Gen-Z and Millennials.  
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    Distribution Channels for Hard Seltzers

    An important part of creating your hard seltzer distribution strategy is selecting your distribution channels. If you’re wondering how to start a wholesale distribution business, make sure you understand your different distribution channel options. 

    Some channels to consider include retail, online, bars and restaurants, and event partnerships. These channels are all great to consider whether you're considering small-scale or wholesale distribution.

    Retail Stores

    Retail channels are a great option for your distribution strategy. Getting your product into a brick-and-mortar store can help you reach a wide customer base and begin to grow customer loyalty. Establishing your hard seltzer in a well-known retail chain is an important step in your distribution strategy. Consider reaching out to grocery stores, liquor stores, and convenience stores.

    Another aspect of getting your hard seltzer in a retail outlet is product placement. High visibility within the store is important to gain consumer attention. Some ways to get visibility within the store are through point-of-sale displays, shelf designs, or promotional offers. 

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    eCommerce is another essential channel to consider when creating your distribution strategy. There are many online retailers that you should consider. Amazon, Walmart, and specialty alcohol subscription boxes are a few places to start. Selling online presents an opportunity to reach a wide range of consumers.

    It’s also important to harness social media and online presence as part of your hard seltzer distribution strategy. Hard seltzers perform very well on social media. Many of the biggest hard seltzer companies stay on top of trends and use paid advertisements as part of their distribution strategies. Some strategies for online presence are using promotional campaigns, offering online-exclusive deals and discounts, and analyzing your ecommerce marketing tactics. 

    Bars and Restaurants

    Another hard seltzer distribution strategy is partnering with bars and restaurants. This can be an effective way to introduce new products into the market. Partnering with a bar or restaurant business is effective because of the social atmosphere in these environments. Try finding bars and restaurants that have a similar target market as your hard seltzer. This can help broaden your consumer base and establish brand loyalty.

    You can also offer promotions within bars and restaurants. Some distribution strategies to use within a bar or restaurant are to offer promotional pricing during happy hour, or become the exclusive hard seltzer offered. 

    Event Partnerships

    Events and festivals can be another strong distribution strategy to reach your target market. Music festivals, food events, health expos, and sporting matches are a few events to consider when building your distribution strategy. Sponsoring any one of these events can increase brand visibility. It can also be a great way to introduce your product to new consumers.

    Branding for Hard Seltzer

    A strong brand identity is an essential part of your distribution strategy. Make sure that your hard seltzer can be easily identified against competing brands. 

    Establishing a clear brand identity will help position your brand in consumers’ minds. Use ideas and imagery that are compelling to your target audience. Defining your brand within a niche market allows you to showcase your brand values. By having strong and clear brand values and identity, you can better connect with your target audience. 

    The packaging and design of your hard seltzers is another aspect of your distribution strategy to keep in mind. Colors, fonts, and images are all very impactful to consumers. Make sure your packaging stands out and captures the attention of consumers. This will help you stand out both in-store and online. 

    Social media presence is a major part of building a brand identity in today’s markets. The visuals, values, and personality of your hard seltzer brand should all be clear through your online presence. Social media influencers and user-generated content can contribute to your online branding.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Hard Seltzer Distribution Strategies

    It can be difficult to navigate the rapidly growing hard seltzer industry. There are many things to consider when building your hard seltzer distribution strategy. Defining your target audience,  navigating the different types of marketplaces, and building a strong brand identity are all important aspects of distribution. Get answers to frequently asked questions about hard seltzer distribution below. 

    What distribution channels are most effective for my hard seltzer distribution strategy?

    Retail stores, online marketplaces, bars and restaurants, and event partnerships are all effective hard seltzer distribution channels. There are multiple considerations when selecting your distribution channels. Each one offers opportunities to reach your target market and expand your consumer base. 

    How can hard seltzer companies use social media in their distribution strategies?

    Hard seltzer companies can use social media to convey their brand identity and reach more consumers. A strong social media presence can be very effective to connect with your consumer base and convey information about the hard seltzer brand. Social media can also be used to promote products or offer promotions through influencers or paid promotions.

    How can hard seltzer companies change their distribution strategies to keep up with the changing market?

    Hard seltzers companies can use information about market trends, consumer behavior, and online trends to adapt their distribution strategies. Staying informed about the industry is the best way to stay on top of the market. Analyzing sales data, reviewing customer feedback, and researching industry trends can all help your hard seltzer company adapt its distribution strategies. 

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