Hip Sip, Hooray: American Airlines Adding Hard Seltzer to Beverage Carts

Sam KemmisDec 12, 2019

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Millennials, rejoice: American Airlines says it’s adding Truly brand hard seltzers to its beverage selection starting January 1, 2020. The new option won’t be complimentary for domestic main cabin flyers (just like other alcoholic beverages), but it should be free and available on most international flights starting in February 2020.

For those unfamiliar with hard seltzer and confused as to why anyone should care, here’s a primer:

  • Hard seltzer is flavored, sugar-free fizzy water with alcohol. Think of it like a shot of vodka dropped in a LaCroix.

  • It combines many things popular among “young” people: carbonated water, avoiding calories and consciousness alteration.

  • Hard seltzer has therefore exploded in popularity, giving rise to many think pieces that use the word “meteoric.”

American Airlines is dipping its toes in the hard water to start, only offering one choice for now: Wild Berry flavor from Truly Hard Seltzer.

JetBlue introduced the same brand to its flights back in November, maintaining its status as the hippest airline of the post-Virgin-America era. With American jumping on board, can we expect to see more fizzy alcoholic options on other carriers soon?

Perhaps, but some preliminary research indicates that we may have already reached and exceeded peak hard seltzer. Google Trends shows that search volume for “White Claw” (another popular brand), “hard seltzer” and “Truly Hard Seltzer” have all dipped in recent months:

This could certainly be a seasonal summer trend, as hard seltzers seem to be a hot-weather drink. Yet search trends for the similarly seasonal Mike’s Hard Lemonade peak in summer, though not nearly as sharply:

Did American and JetBlue get ahead of the curve, or fall victim to fad-chasing? Time will tell.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Beer Company/Truly Hard Seltzer.

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