SXSW 2020
Sparkling marketing

Buzzy booze brand White Claw bubbles up as official sponsor of SXSW 2020

Buzzy booze brand White Claw bubbles up as official sponsor of SXSW

White Claw
White Claw “reflects the independent and innovative spirit that SXSW is known for," says SXSW. Courtesy of White Claw

Looks like White Claw summer isn't over.

White Claw Hard Seltzer has signed up as a “super” sponsor of this year’s SXSW, which is set for March 13-22 in Austin. In a sign of changing tastes among alcohol aficionados, White Claw ousted longtime sponsor Bud Light as SXSW’s booze sponsor.

White Claw, an alcoholic seltzer-water beverage, came onto the scene in 2016. Since then, it’s catapulted to No. 1 in the white-hot category of hard seltzer. (FYI: Bud Light is launching its own line of hard seltzer to compete with White Claw and other seltzer brands.)

“This brand has been built through the great passion and celebration by our fans, connecting the brand to culture and sharing it through their social channels. We are excited to support SXSW, an event that has always been ground zero for innovation in culture and technology,” Phil Rosse, president of White Claw, says in a January 13 release.

In the release, Roland Swenson, co-founder and CEO of SXSW, says the White Claw sponsorship “reflects the independent and innovative spirit that SXSW is known for.”

Chicago-based Mark Anthony Brands owns White Claw along with Mike’s Hard Lemonade. White Claw promotes itself as a low-carb, gluten-free, relatively low-calorie alcoholic beverage. It’s available in six fruit flavors.

According to MarketWatch, spiked seltzers such as White Claw “have bubbled up into an $8 billion industry with sales projected to triple by 2023.” Sales of ready-to-drink cocktails like White Claw jumped nearly 50 percent last year; hard seltzer represented 43 percent of that category. By comparison, sales of wine, beer, and hard cider slipped in 2019.

Mark Anthony Brands is projecting total sales of $4 billion in 2020. Last year, sales of White Claw exceeded $1.5 billion, according to the Brewbound website.

“What started as a summertime novelty beverage might soon have the power to supplant the Bud Light cans in the tight grip of dads milling around the grill at cookouts nationwide,” says The Takeout, a food and beverage website.