This Is Now The Best-Selling Spirit In The U.S.

High Noon hard seltzers are made with vodka, and they're beating every other contender.

If you had to guess what the best-selling alcoholic spirit is, what would you say? My guess would be vodka, since its relatively neutral flavor means it can be mixed into nearly anything (hell, you can even make pasta dishes with it... or Jell-O). It turns out I'm mostly right in that guess, but the bestseller by volume isn't some fancy 750ml glass bottle. Instead, it comes in a can, and when you crack it open, it fizzes. As reported by luxury product publication Robb Report, High Noon hard seltzer is now America's favorite spirit.

High Noon hard seltzer is crushing sales

High Noon is a hard seltzer brand, but unlike the White Claws and Trulys that first dominated that category, High Noon isn't a flavored malt beverage. Instead, it mixes vodka with real fruit juice; the brand now also has a tequila-based hard seltzer, released last year. Robb Report notes that in 2023, High Noon sold a whopping 21.4 million cases, valued at about $1.5 billion.

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The best-selling spirit in terms of pure retail dollars (not by volume) is Tito's Vodka, having sold $2.5 billion worth of product last year, or just over 12 million cases.

High Noon is owned by E. & J. Gallo's Spirit of Gallo division, which owns other brands such as Komos tequila, Horse Soldier Bourbon, and New Amsterdam vodka.

The ready-to-drink market continues to skyrocket

The ready-to-drink category (or RTD, meaning anything you're intended to drink straight from the container) continues to grow, and this isn't an understatement. In 2019, this segment sold 10 million cases—but in 2023, the number jumped to 60 million. Considering the entire U.S. spirits market sold about 300 million cases last year, that's a sizable amount of sales in one category alone.

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High Noon doesn't just offer a vodka seltzer; it also came out with a tequila seltzer last year. With the hard seltzer craze having finally calmed down, the fact that High Noon, positioned as a seltzer more than as an RTD cocktail, continues to crush it makes the brand an outlier in alcohol sales.

What's even more interesting is that High Noon isn't exactly cheap. I know this firsthand, because when I look for hard seltzer, I'm a price-conscious shopper. High Noon is consistently on the higher end of the prices on the shelf, and therefore never in my cart. For example, a 12-pack of High Noon at my local grocery store, currently on sale, is $27.99 (normally $29.99). Meanwhile, a 12-pack of trusty old White Claw currently will run you $16.99 on sale (down from $20.99). That's a huge difference for the same volume of product. And though they're made of different stuff, they're both "seltzer" to the untrained eye.

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In current times when people tend to be brand agnostic due to price consciousness, it's saying a lot that a brand like High Noon is doing such wild numbers. And with the brand continuing to innovate in 2024, it might just keep that streak going. 

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