Photo from the White Claw website

Learn from White Claw’s potential brand blunder.

Sometimes perceived threats are really opportunities.

Barry W. Enderwick
4 min readSep 11, 2019

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In 2019 we’ve seen an absolute explosion in interest around low and non-alcoholic beverages. From VC funding for canned water brand Liquid Death to the seemingly unstoppable hard seltzer White Claw, there is no doubt that this trend will continue.

My friend, Marc Röger, wrote an excellent piece that delves into this market expansion so I won’t get into too many details here. Consumers are trending to consuming low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages. The reasons for the trend are multiple. Some folks want to get in shape but still have drinks with friends. Some are just wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle in general in keeping with the wellness movement. Still, others may just want to not feel “out of control” in a world that feels increasingly out of control.

Enter: White Claw

The poster child for the explosion in that market is the hard seltzer brand White Claw. In fact, the beverages are so popular that they are having inventory issues. Of all the problems a company can face that’s one of the better ones to have to tackle. So how did this happen? How did White Claw (who wasn’t the first hard seltzer out there) go from also-ran to first place in the market?

Enter Trevor Wallace

Earlier this year, comedian Trevor Williams made a funny video that, in reality, parodies someone who tries White Claw for the first time, then won’t shut up about it (heads up, contains NSFW language):

With almost 2.5 million views on YouTube, it is safe to say that the video took off. And in the video, you may have noticed he popped off with the phrase “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinkin’ Claws!” That line caught fire, causing an explosion of growth in White Claw sales.

Were you in charge of marketing at White Claw, you would have been thrilled, right? After all, you had what appeared to potentially be a negative…

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Barry W. Enderwick

Brand/marketing executive, Kaizen (ex Netflix). I write on startups, strategy, business, culture & design. Also Sandwiches Of History on Insta/TikTok/YouTube