Beer vs seltzers, drink preferences change for rallygoers
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Eighties hairbands, black leather, and bars. These are three things you surely can’t miss in Sturgis, but as bikers age, major companies like Anheuser-Busch must adjust for a younger demographic attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Budweiser has been known as the “King of Beers” for decades and it is still king among bikers at the rally. “Our lead brand for years here in Sturgis is Budweiser,” says Nick, a brand manager for Quality Brands.
Still, Nick says seltzers have been taking on beer in droves. “Our biggest new kind of innovation is the seltzer category. If you would have asked me three years ago if that category would have been growing like it is, I would have said’no.”
Seltzer consumption has grown for Anheuser-Busch. “We’re seeing a lot of seltzers being consumed, just these last few days especially with the heat because they’re refreshing,” Nick explained.
He said that while seltzers are targeted to 21- to 29-year-olds, all ages drink them. And the 2021 city of Sturgis Rally report noted that the average rallygoer is about 47 years old, younger than the 54-year-old average rallygoer in 2019.
“That’s the new generation, that new seltzer category, they want something more light, more refreshing,” Nick said. “There are a lot of nutritional facts, with the gluten-free type stuff, they have lower calories in them now.”
Nick has watched Anheuser-Busch expand its brands, to include energy drinks and non-alcoholic beverages. He says it’s for people with changing taste buds and those who want to drink responsibly without missing the experience. “We have a brand called Bud Zero now that’s going crazy, we can’t keep it in stock here,” said Nick.
Even though the crowd is younger, Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser remains the top drink.
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