The Seltzer Bubble

16 Jul 2019

Demand for sparkling water is higher than ever. So is supply.

The drink of summer 2019 complies with just about every diet, befits all age groups, can be found in grocery stores across the United States (as has been the case for decades) and won’t get you drunk — unless, of course, it will.

It’s water. More specifically sparkling water, an umbrella term that encompasses club soda and seltzer. This beverage category is attracting millions of dollars in venture capital investment and changing the drinking habits of a people known for colonizing the world with corn-syrup-laden soda and watered-down beer.

“Sparkling water is one of these categories that has exploded, that has been exploding,” like so many bubbles of carbon dioxide, said David Henkes, a senior principal at Technomic, which tracks restaurant and food service trends.

According to Technomic, Americans spent about $1.7 billion on sparkling water at restaurants in 2018, a modest amount compared with the $15 billion they forked over for carbonated soft drinks. But while sparkling water is seeing double-digit growth, by those estimates, traditional soda has grown by only 1 percent each year since 2016.

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