'Millions of Cases' of Truly Destroyed as Demand Fizzles
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Millions of Cases of Truly Destroyed as Hard Seltzer Trend Fizzles

Truly

A view of Truly Hard Seltzer at Goldbelly’s Best of New York presented by Bucket Listers hosted by Joe Ariel and Rev Run during the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One at Pier 86 on Oct. 16 in New York City. Boston Beer Company decided to crush millions of cases of Truly as its supply dwarfs consumer demand. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

After a wildly succesful ride, the hard seltzer trend appears to be coming to a screeching halt. It has been on the decline for months, as evidenced by Molson Coors making the decision in July to discontinue its Coors Seltzer venture. Still, the top two hard seltzer brands — Truly and White Claw – have stayed afloat despite decreasing sales numbers. On Friday, Boston Beer Company admitted it made too much Truly, telling CNBC that it will be destroying millions of cases of the drink that it once could barely make enough of to meet supply.

“We were very aggressive about adding capacity, adding inventory, buying raw materials, like cans and flavors, and, frankly, we overbought,” chairman Jim Koch told NBC. “And when the growth stopped, we had more of all those things than we were going to be able to use, because there is a shelf life.”

Koch said the decision to crush the cases rather than sell them at discounted prices was made because the company wants Truly “to have that fresh, bright taste.”

“Rather than take a chance of it getting out in the market and going stale and consumers having a bad experience, we decided to make the hard decision and eat a lot of product, just to make sure consumers didn’t get stale product and have a bad Truly,” Koch said.

Boston Beer Co.’s second-quarter sales, released in July, disappointed largely in part to declining Truly sales. At the time, Boston Beer CEO David Burwick said the numbers made the company not “look very smart.”

Amanda Victoria, CEO and co-founder of Siponey, a canned cocktail made with honey, weighed in on Boston Beer Co.’s wasteful decision:

Earlier this month, Boston Beer announced plans to open a taproom in downtown Los Angeles solely devoted to Truly.

Truly Decline a bad sign for Canned Cocktails?

In the spirit of competing with the ease and light-ABV nature of hard seltzers, spirits companies such as Wild Turkey, WhistlePig, Jim Beam and Post Meridiem now sell canned cocktails.

If a giant of this space such as Truly is facing such hard times, that would seem to bode poorly for ready-to-drink whiskey cocktails. However, none of these smaller companies are putting as many eggs in one basket as Boston Beer did Truly, so perhaps they’ll manage OK.

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