Truly is trying to chip away at White Claw's dominance by overhauling all 13 of its hard-seltzer flavors

trulyTruly

  • Truly is unveiling a reformulated recipe for all 13 of its existing hard seltzer flavors, while also debuting new watermelon and kiwi flavors, beginning in early November.
  • The Boston Beer Company-owned brand will also roll out a lemonade hard seltzer in 2020.
  • "We've cleaned up the finish on Truly so that it no longer has a bit of this sort of lingering bitter," Truly founder and developer Casey O'Neill told Business Insider. "Where we are now is a much fuller, bigger, flavor, but cleaner and more drinkable and refreshing while still paying homage to the Truly that people were already drinking and loved."
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As Truly continues to eye the top spot in the coveted hard-seltzer race, it's turning to total reinvention to dethrone White Claw.

The Boston Beer Company-owned brand announced it has reformulated all 13 of its flavors, creating a new recipe that "is bigger, brighter, and bolder," Truly founder and developer Casey O'Neill told Business Insider.

As part of the new recipe debut, Truly is also launching two new flavors, watermelon and kiwi, which will be available in early November.

"We've done a number of things over the past few months in terms of enhancing the aroma and bringing out more of the fruit," O'Neill told Business Insider. "Where originally Truly has been more subtle - and wanted to emulate more of like a subtle fresh squeeze of a fruit - we amped up the aroma a bit."

While some surmised that hard seltzer might merely be a flash-in-the-pan summer fad, the fizzy drinks are still flying off shelves at rates that caused a national shortage of White Claw, not to mention inspiring Halloween costumes and even custom cakes. According to Nielsen data, the hard seltzer market has passed $1 billion in sales, and Brewbound reported that sales of Truly's Berry mix pack increased by 278% through September 8.

When it comes to competing with market leader White Claw - as well as the slew of other brands that have cropped up since the hard-seltzer craze blew up this summer - O'Neill said the company is focused on improving its current beverages and innovating to create new ones in equal measure.

"It's been an incredibly exciting year for Truly in that not only has the category had explosive growth, but Truly has also continued to have triple-digit growth," she said. "What we've been trying to do is focus on how we can continue to have this sort of growth in the category and hold our own while the category continues to mature in the next few years."

Read more: We taste-tested hard seltzers from 9 popular brands and ranked them from worst to best

Truly held tastings across the country to collect consumer feedback to inform the reformulation. The team held blind tastings in cities like Chicago, Boston, and Dallas, where O'Neill said the key feedback was to enhance the taste and smell, while improving the finish "especially because you're drinking it out of a can and not necessarily pouring it into a glass."

As a result, O'Neill said, Truly has worked out some kinks involving a bitter aftertaste, which consumers (including members of the Business Insider team during a recent tasting) had noted in previous reviews of the beverage.

"We've also cleaned up the finish on Truly so that it no longer has a bit of this sort of lingering bitter" she said. "Where we are now is a much fuller, bigger flavor, but cleaner and more drinkable and refreshing while still paying homage to the Truly that people were already drinking and loved."

As Truly looks to expand its portfolio, it will also launch a lemonade hard-seltzer variety pack in 2020, which will come in four flavors: traditional lemon, black cherry, strawberry, and mango. The beverages will have the same nutritional profile as Truly - 100 calories, 5% ABV, and one gram of sugar - but will have a more lemonade-style flavor profile.

"Instead of going for a hard seltzer type flavor, with almost no sweetness, that's trying to stay as close to sparkling water as possible, these lemonades taste much more like that sweet and sour balance that you would get in traditional lemonade," O'Neill said.

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