White Claw Hard Seltzer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade producer Mark Anthony Brewing announced its plans to open a $400 million brewing and production facility creating an estimated 300 new jobs in Columbia’s Pineview Industrial Park. The build-out of the one million square-foot facility is expected to be completed by summer 2021.
The hard seltzer market has rocketed into the alcoholic beverage industry over the past four years, stealing revenue from traditional packaged booze. Even as alcohol sales spiked earlier this year with the pandemic, Nielsen reported hard seltzer buyers decreased their spending on beer and wine year over year (though 75% of seltzer buyers do still buy beer). Since White Claw launched in 2016, it has guzzled market share, accounting for 54% of total hard seltzer sales in 2019.
Mark Anthony Brewing president John Sacksteder credited state incentives for White Claw landing in the Palmetto State in a press release, calling the project a “long-term strategic investment.”
“One of the primary reasons we selected Richland County was the spirit of collaboration and engagement from the state of South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Richland County Council that have embraced our vision and understand our ambitious timeline to transform this location from initial concept to a fully operational facility in record time,” he said.
Despite its quick growth, White Claw has attracted a slew of competitors. Major international brewers like Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors are making use of existing brands, launching new seltzer products bearing Bud Light, Natural Light and Coors Light labels. Anheuser-Busch InBev also purchased SpikedSeltzer in 2016. Industry watchers say hard seltzer could become a $14.5 billion business by 2027.
Chicago-based Mark Anthony Brewing (a subsidiary of The Mark Anthony Group) is the fourth-largest brewery in the U.S., with existing manufacturing facilities in Arizona and New Jersey. The Columbia facility will produce four of the five Mark Anthony brands — White Claw Hard Seltzer, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Mike’s Harder Lemonade and Cayman Jack Cocktails.