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When White Claw hard seltzer broke into the scene in 2016, it joined Bon & Viv’s Spiked Seltzer as a “healthy” low-calorie alternative to boozing that capitalized off of the millennial obsession with non-alcoholic seltzers. (Or you know, “seltzer.”) Brewed with a cold, natural fermentation process in a similar way to traditional beer, hard seltzers are typically fermented with sugar instead of malted barley.
Yet, the result yields an alcoholic beverage low in sugar and carbs with a manageable ABV (averaging around five percent) that makes it the ideal, versatile beverage for anything from a day at the beach to a night out on the town.
In other words, it didn’t take long before the market became saturated with competing hard seltzers from brands such as Henry’s, Smirnoff, and even offerings from small craft breweries. However, as we’re now deep into what’s being called “summer of hard seltzer,” White Claw Hard Seltzer is unarguably reigning supreme.
Why White Claw?
As RuinMyWeek points out, White Claw has developed cultural presence similar to other brands of beverages such as Four Loko and LaCroix. The Takeout recently noted that people are using the phrase “White Claw lifestyle” mostly sans irony, and that the brand has transcended its competition by becoming synonymous with hard seltzer, “like Band-Aid stands in for adhesive bandages.”
White Claw (which is owned by Mark Anthony Brands, the same company that makes Mike’s Hard Lemonade) is also generally regarded as one of the better-tasting of the hard seltzers, with six flavors: black cherry, ruby grapefruit, natural lime, raspberry, mango, and the flavorless “pure.”
It’s not a simple task to pinpoint exactly how and when White Claw became a cultural phenomenon. At least some of the credit goes to comedian Trevor Wallace (of the “Kyle” Monster Energy-chugging viral fame), who released the following YouTube parody on June 25. In the clip, Wallace portrays a fratty, unemployed douche-bag character who just can’t extol the praises of White Claw enough.
The video, which has since been viewed over 1.7 million times, is no doubt what we have to thank for the popularity of the term “White Claw summer” and catchphrase “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.” (As a result, there is certainly no shortage of fan-created apparel on Esty emblazoned with the ubiquitous phrase.)
But also, as evidenced by the video, the thing that really differentiates the brand from similar non-beer alcoholic beverages is that while those sort of beverages have long been written off as “girl drinks.” White Claw, on the other hand, has become ingrained and picked up a cult following in so-called “bro culture.”
“I’m a bro, I do dude things and get stoked and all that,” a producer named Ben Shea told Business Insider in a recent interview. “But I also just feel comfortable saying I like White Claw and that it’s good.”
It also certainly didn’t hurt that White Claw was apparently spotted just about everywhere during Coachella back in April, leading The Wrap to proclaim it the unofficial “rising star” of the music festival. The piece referred to the alcoholic seltzer as “Gen-Z’s version of Zima,” which doesn’t sound at all inaccurate.
Likewise, a popular way of designating a bar that’s run out of White Claw is apparently to say it’s been “declawed.”
White Claw memes
Given the sweeping, widespread popularity, it’s hardly surprising that White Claw memes have started appearing all over the internet. Although some of the jokes come at the expense of the boozy seltzer—or those who enjoy it—most are just celebrating the cool refreshing taste.
When there’s only one White Claw left in the cooler: pic.twitter.com/TmC040tltG— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) July 22, 2019
Fuck Netflix and chill. Let’s White Claw and break the law— sarafcarter (@sarafcarter) July 30, 2019
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A post shared by @ whiteclawgang on
Damn right! from WhiteClaw
Excited to announce our new partnership with White Claw! pic.twitter.com/yVMwdUqdDH— The Ham Man (@buy_2_hams) August 2, 2019
3 months ago any girl drinking a white claw got their entire existence roasted by the same guys now posting snap stories saying “ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws”— marystebbins (@marystebbins_) July 26, 2019
“i think it’s time you had a white claw summer” jokes pic.twitter.com/1qz7s8qOxk— Movements (@movementsCA) July 28, 2019
Much in the way that Monster Energy Drink is for Kyles, someone else speculated as to the name of a dude who gets his ‘Claw on:
And speaking of Monster Energy memes…
But no good internet phenomenon would be complete without a highly-regrettable meme tattoo!
Like it or not, it appears that at least for the time being, White Claw is here to stay. In a nutshell, its enduring popularity can be summed up by the following tweet by user @sarahndipity18: “La Croix walked so that White Claw could run.”
La Croix walked so that White Claw could run— yeet pray love (@sarahndipity18) July 21, 2019
Drink responsibly, Claw Squad.
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.