While Hard Seltzer Eases, AAPI-Owned Brands Gain Share

Hard seltzer growth slowed on Drizly during the past year, declining from 21% share of beer sales in 2021 to 19% in 2022. But it remains the beer category’s top seller and is expected to continue as a key sales driver in the year ahead.

There's one subcategory that stands out: Asian American Pacific Islander owned drinks brands.  Their share on Drizly grew more than 10%, and one brand in particular is attracting attention – Lunar, which ranked No. 7 among AAPI-owned brands sold through the platform in 2022, moving up from No. 13 the previous year.

“While much of the hard seltzer category is dominated by a few established brands, we continue to see new niche brands break in and gain share,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “This is particularly true for those that have a key differentiator that stands out in the market.” Within the hard seltzer category, she adds, consumers are especially drawn to new offerings and innovations.

Lunar’s origin story begins with friends Kevin Wong and Sean Ro, who moved to New York City after graduating from the University of Virginia. Both grew up in Maryland as children of immigrant parents – Ro’s from Korea and Wong’s from Taiwan – and worked in the tech industry before launching Lunar in 2020.

The co-founders took inspiration from the flavors of their childhoods, foregoing standard citrus and berry offerings to craft their own recipes for Yuzu, Lychee, Korean Plum, and Passionfruit hard seltzers. Through Lunar, the duo is bringing Asian-American representation and storytelling to the predominantly white U.S. beverage alcohol industry.

Lunar uses real fruit juices.  It uses the actual fruit – yuzu juice from Japan’s Shimane prefecture, lychee nectar from Thailand, maesil plum from Korea, and Taiwanese passion fruit puree.

Lunar is priced as a premium product between $17 and $19 at major retailers.  It's available in 300 locations in New York City and the Atlanta area. Each month a portion of sales is donated to AAPI nonprofits and causes.

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Jamie Larson