White Claw, a sparkling water flavored with cherry, lime or mango, with 5º of alcohol, is sweeping the United States market. The drink, which came onto the market in 2016, sold out in supermarkets and bars, and it has become a viral phenomenon among the least expected audiences: young white college freshmen, party-goers and, until very recently, wound up unconscious drinking beer and Jägermeister.
According to a Nielsen study, sales of sparkling water with a pinch of alcohol have grown 210% in one year and, although big brands like Smirnoff or Corona They sell their own versions of the drink, White Claw is by far the most popular. Their sales have increased by 320%.
The taste change among young drinkers is a world trend which, although more timidly than in Asia or America, is also reaching Europe. The last millennial, and the first postmillenials, who are coming of age, they don’t drink liters of beer or calimocho: They want cocktails or soft drinks that are pleasant to taste and, if possible, with fewer calories.
The latter has been one of the great claims of White Claw. A 12-ounce can (the equivalent of about 33 cl) has 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates. By comparison, a beer has 142 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrates. And, although its alcoholic content is similar, it is much lower than that of the most similar drinks that existed until now, the ready-made cocktails. In short, it can be drunk as if it were beer, but without being it. The idea of no hangover, which is quite widespread, is an invention. But it also works as a claim.
beer: makes you fat. makes you hungover
whiteclaw: 100 calories. can’t get hungover off water. cheap af. clearly superior https://t.co/LbClzPFQg8
— bren ⭐️ (@brenna_werst) August 20, 2019
A viral drink
But boom of White Claw so far this summer has to do not only with a change in tastes among the young audience, but also with a successful strategy of marketing.
In the United States, sparkling waters and supposedly “natural” flavors such as Four Loko Y LaCroix. Its success has been enormous among millennial, but especially among women. As it points Stacey Ritzen on The Daily Dot, White Claw has hit the mark by adding alcohol and, incidentally, removing the sanbenito of “feminine” from a drink of this type.
Overnight White Claw has become popular with what the American media knows as the “Bro culture”: young upper-middle class, allegedly heterosexual, overwhelmingly white (but who pretend to talk like black), who hang out in college sororities and wear sportswear.
The popularity achieved among this great subculture has helped a lot the support for the drink of comedians such as Trevor wallace, which launched an alleged parody of White Claw on YouTube on June 25 that has already had more than two million views. The motto “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws” (“There are no laws when you drink Claws”) has become something of a self-parodic viral joke among those who buy the drink like crazy.
The company has also known how to carry out conventional advertising in the appropriate places, the epicenters of the bro culture how is he Coachela festival, where the drink was promoted on every corner. The Internet has done the rest: the drink has become the protagonist of countless memes, which have made it increasingly popular.
There is no doubt that the White Claw phenomenon is distinctly American, but we already know how this works: the trend will come sooner rather than later to Spain, and it is in line with the movements that the almighty soft drink industry is making worldwide. The latest fad in Japan has a lot to do with this: clear, zero-calorie beverages that appear healthier than the beverages they mimic (such as beer).
We are increasingly aware of the impact that the consumption of sugar and alcohol has on our health, and young people want to continue drinking, but in a different way. White Claw is to beer what vaping is to tobacco. That it is really a healthier alternative is another matter.