Last year, hard soda took the beer business by surprise, even as questions surfaced about how long the alcoholic soda variants could keep the momentum going. Would they quickly fizzle out?
Yet as the key summer beer-selling season gets underway, the category shows no signs of slowing down.
A multitude of new brands have entered the market in the last six months, pushing hard soda's off-premise dollar sales above $100 million through the middle of April, Chicago-based market research firm IRI estimates. Those figures measure sales at multioutlet and convenience stores.
The leader in sales remains Small Town Brewery's Not Your Father's Root Beer, which started the hard soda trend after its national rollout last June. According to IRI, Not Your Father's Root Beer has tallied $36 million in dollar sales through April 17, doubling up the next-best-selling brand in that time period: Anheuser-Busch InBev's Best Damn Root Beer.
Not Your Father's strong start to the year comes after it generated more than $104 million in total dollar sales in 2015.
"It has been an incredible ride," said Greig DeBow, president of Small Town Brewery. "We were completely overwhelmed and excited by the response."