Hard coffee, hard kombucha — experts say no beverage is safe from alcohol

From The Washington Post, by Laura Reiley. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Boozy iterations of nonalcoholic beverages gain ground as light beer and wine struggle.

Big alcohol brands are following, not leading. And where they are headed is alternative drink categories, many of them “hard” versions of nonalcoholic beverages.

Hard seltzer surpassed $500 million in sales in 2019, according to the media and consumer research firm Nielsen, growing more than 200 percent in 2019. It took a bite out of light beer sales and contributed to a decline in the volume of wine purchases in the United States, the first drop since 1994. For the Super Bowl, Bud Light debuted Bud Light Seltzer commercials, a 5 percent alcohol beverage offered in four fruity flavors. California wine giant Barefoot has made the biggest investment in its 55-year history to launch four white wine-based seltzers in the first quarter of this year.

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