Hard Seltzer News: PBR, Four Loko, and Boston Beer Company

By Neat Pour Staff |

Sadly, the summer of 2019 will be remembered as the moment when Zima’s conceptual progeny, hard seltzer, broke through. Of course, hard seltzer is not really seltzer at all, but that’s a different article. Summer may be waning, but the enthusiasm for this beverage is not. Always on brand, Four Loko and Pabst are jumping into the market. Meanwhile, Sam Adams spinoff, Truly, is going upscale and putting their hard seltzer on tap.

Four Loko

It was only a matter of time before Four Loko hopped in the hard seltzer market. The pairing is about as natural (for a synthetic beverage producer) as it gets. Last week, the company launched a new marketing push to tease Four Loko Sour Seltzer.

#SpoilerAlert: The campaign is centered around memes. (See below.) The marketing whizzes “Hard Seltzers ran so we could fly.”


View this post on Instagram


and I OOP-

A post shared by Four Loko (@fourloko) on

However, the big selling point is an outrageous 14% ABV. For comparison, White Claw clocks in at 5% and Bon & Viv is a manageable 4.5%.

The tactic should come as no surprise given that Four Loko built their brand around caffeinated  “alcoholic drink.” After states began banning the beverage. the company removed the caffeinated element.

Truly On Tap

Sam Adams (and now Dogfish Head) parent company, Boston Beer Company is pushing their hard seltzer, Truly in kegs. As fist reported by Brewbound, the company is now rolling out Truly on Tap, a draft based version of Truly.

“We know drinkers are asking for hard seltzer on-premise and their current option is limited to cans,” Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick told Brewbound. “As the category continues to grow and evolve, and drinker preference shifts, we believe most bars and restaurants will have a draft line dedicated to hard seltzer. We aren’t concerned about an existing Boston Beer product as Truly carved out its own whitespace within the alcohol category and provides a different value proposition for on-premise drinkers. We anticipate similar consumption habits to light beer than anything else.”

The company seems to be positioning Truly as an alternative to vodka soda or wine-spritzers. The technique also seems to be working; Boston Beer credited Truly as the driver behind their their 16% revenue growth is Q2.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Not to be outdone, PBR is also entering the arena. Their offering, Stronger Seltzer, is marketed around their above-average 8% ABV. Apparently, they didn’t know about Four Loko’s stronger offering. Also, just in case, they needed to re-up their hipster cred, PBR launched the bevy at LA’s installment of the storytelling series The Moth.

“Stronger Seltzer explores new ground for the blue ribbon, while upholding the boundary pushing tradition that’s been associated with us since the days of our founder Jacob Best,” said John Newhouse, brand manager at Pabst Blue Ribbon, in a statement. “Stronger Seltzer is a fun and innovative new drink that delivers big on taste, and gives our customers something different to enjoy.”

Stronger Seltzer is currently being test marketed in Arizona, California, Montana, and Texas.

The release comes amidst a barrage of new products from the 175-year-old company. Last month, the world was introduced to PBR Hard Coffee. Before that, the brand unveiled PBR Extra and Non-Alcoholic beers. And, this fall, we’re looking forward (sorta) to Pabst Blue Ribbon Whiskey.

Liked it? Take a second to support Neat Pour on Patreon!

Read Next