This weekend, viewers of the Super Bowl — especially those who unmute their TVs only during the commercials, like me — will be treated to an ad showing rapper Post Malone drinking not Bud Light but Bud Light Seltzer. That's right, the beer you might think of as a favorite among college kids and sports enthusiasts has made a play to get into the hard seltzer game.
Bud Light launching its very own hard seltzer will come as no surprise to those keeping an eye on alcohol trends. One of Nielsen's 2020 predictions for the alcoholic beverage category was that "the number of players in the hard seltzer space will double," and while growth rates for hard seltzer aren't expected to match those of last summer — which some (me) like to call the Great Seltzer Boom of 2019 — sales growth for boozy seltzer continues to significantly outperform that of other alcoholic beverages. So now that Bud Light Seltzer is here, just as the competition is really heating up, we had to know how it actually tastes, especially in comparison to other brands.
How do the flavors compare to other brands?
This week, we tried all four flavors of Bud Light's Seltzer, Lemon Lime, Black Cherry, Mango, and Strawberry, and here's the tea: if you like hard seltzer, you are going to like these. For me, these seltzers taste very similar to other brands, including my usual go-to, White Claw.
Bud Light's Black Cherry, which is my all-time favorite seltzer flavor, is exquisite as long as you drink it cold. It's bright and juicy, and of course, refreshing. Though I'm a Black Cherry stan, Bud Light's Strawberry seltzer actually had me questioning my flavor rankings. It was certainly the best strawberry hard seltzer I've had. Money Diaries editorial assistant Hannah Rimm agreed and pointed out that it tastes more like a cocktail made with strawberry juice than a hard seltzer. Hannah is also a big fan of Bud Light Seltzer because unlike many other seltzer brands, it doesn't contain hops, which she is allergic to. Mad props for no hops!
Unfortunately, Bud Light's Mango seltzer fell short for some of our taste testers. While I thought it was pretty good, despite not being a huge fan of mango-flavored things generally, others noted that it had a "fermented" taste that was oddly close to the taste of beer. Perhaps the malted rice or fermented cane sugar — both ingredients in the drink — are to blame for this?
What else do we like about the seltzer?
One aspect of Bud Light Seltzer that we really like is the actual can. As editorial assistant Michelle Santiago Cortés put it, "The can has an amazing shape. Like, I stay thinking about it." This may seem insignificant to some, but a can that fits perfectly in your hand so you're less likely to drop it if things get sloppy is a major plus.
Overall, we are impressed with the taste of the Bud Light Seltzers, and we enjoyed the light buzzes we got off one slim can's 5% ABV. However, our senior lifestyle editor Cait Munro astutely said she wished the brand had released more innovative flavors. Instead of including Lemon Lime and Black Cherry, two flavors that almost every other hard seltzer brand already offers, Bud Light could have set itself apart in the market by offering something different. That said, we're almost positive Bud Light will roll-out more flavors in due course, perhaps ahead of summer.
For now, we're content with what Bud Light has to offer in the spiked seltzer arena. It holds it's own in the ever-expanding hard seltzer market, which means we just might be sipping on them alongside Post Malone this Sunday.