Food & Water

Companies Marketing Hard Seltzers As “Healthy” May Be Contributing to Addiction

Hard seltzers are quickly taking over the alcohol market, but research suggests they may be setting up millennials for a lifetime of addiction.

In a recent study published by GlobalData, it was found that White Claw—a popular brand of hard seltzers—was fueling the massive popularity of these alcoholic drinks by claiming that they were “healthier” than beer. This study stated that nearly half of all millennials—the leading consumer for hard seltzers—were influenced by how healthy they thought alcoholic beverages were before buying them.

Marketed as a safer and healthier type of drink, hard seltzer consumption has skyrocketed to substantial levels.

White Claw and other hard seltzers have tapped into this concern with a vengeance. Claiming that they have fewer calories and sugar, these hard waters have become very trendy. It is believed that their popularity will spread far beyond the North American market which they are dominating and into other parts of the world, including Europe and Asia.

Currently, sales of White Claw are soaring past 200 percent of their initial figures from 2018. As more people switch to this drink, beer and wine sales have decreased, forcing some brewers to start creating their own seltzers to compete with demand. 

Is this change in the market a good thing? Examining the ingredients of White Claw and other seltzers show that they are by no means healthy.

Hard Seltzers are Not “Good” for You

Hard seltzer manufacturers claim that their drinks are healthier than other types of alcoholic beverages. Many people then assume these drinks are “good” for their health. Arguably, that’s what hard seltzer manufacturers rely on to sell their drinks to the public.

For example, hard seltzer manufacturers heavily emphasize that their drinks have fewer calories than beer. A typical can of seltzer contains 100 calories compared to the 150-175 calories of a standard beer. So, a person who drinks a six-pack of hard seltzer will consume 600 calories as opposed to 900 or 1,050 calories. 

However, health and nutrition are not measured just by calories. Hard seltzers—like all alcoholic drinks—are empty calories. Just because there are fewer of them doesn’t mean they are helping your body. 

Hard seltzers and beers have many of the same ingredients, such as corn syrup, malted rice, and fermented sugars. These ingredients are not healthy and can affect your body in many different ways. 

How Hard Seltzers Influence Addiction

Beyond that, these seltzers have an alcohol level that is comparable to many beers, which means they possess about as much potential for addiction.

Studies on hard seltzers are unfortunately very sparse. These drinks are so new and so poorly understood that they have yet to receive the critical studies needed to understand their impact. However, any drink with alcohol can easily contribute to alcohol addiction.

Since these drinks are being marketed as a safe and healthy alternative to beer—a marketing campaign that is targeting millennials—it is fair to say that many people are drinking hard seltzers in the same way they did with beer. So, they may take a six-pack or a 12-pack to a party and overindulge just as they would have done with beer.

Fueled by the misconception that these drinks are “healthier” or “safer,” these individuals may even drink hard seltzers daily, believing that they are staying healthy. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse of any kind can trigger health problems like:

  • Damage to organs
  • Mental health issues
  • Weight gain

Additionally, parents who want to be “cool” to their teens may provide them with hard seltzer for parties, believing that they are a safer alternative to beer or other types of liquor. However, they may be setting up their children for potential alcohol addiction that could impact them for years to come. 

Healthy Drinking is Not a Reality

Those who think that hard seltzer is safe or a healthier way of drinking need to face facts: no alcoholic drink is healthy or good for you. 

Just because there are fewer calories and sugar in hard seltzers, many believe that they are doing themselves a favor by switching to these drinks. However, it is evident that any drink marketed as a “safe” and “healthy” alternative is going to contribute to a higher risk of addiction. 

Take a look at vaping and its impact on nicotine addiction. Rather than cutting down on nicotine use, it has increased. Teens who didn’t smoke tried vaping because they thought it was healthier. Now, many of them are vaping and smoking. 

Hard seltzers are likely in the same boat. Drinking responsibly has everything to do with alcohol content, not calories. Any alcohol consumption is inherently damaging to your body.

If you or a friend are struggling with addiction, alcohol abuse treatment may be an invaluable way to regain sobriety.


About the Author
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. 

This article (Companies Marketing Hard Seltzers As “Healthy” May Be Contributing to Addiction) originally appeared at PhillipSchneider.com and may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author credit, and this copyright statement.

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