Anheuser-Busch CEO says Travis Scott-backed Cacti hard seltzer sold out after debut this week

  • Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris told CNBC on Wednesday the company's hard seltzer developed with rapper Travis Scott had a strong debut this week.
  • "We are ramping up now production and delivery because we sold out completely yesterday," Doukeris said.
  • Cacti Agave Spiked Seltzer is the latest entrant into the increasingly popular beverage category.

Anheuser-Busch is boosting production of its latest hard seltzer offering after the beverage, developed alongside rapper Travis Scott, saw furious demand, CEO Michel Doukeris told CNBC on Wednesday.

The drink — called Cacti Agave Spiked Seltzer — launched earlier this week. Its official website said the product was sold out online, as of Wednesday evening, and directed visitors to search for stores that carry it.

In an interview on "Closing Bell," Doukeris said physical retailers are reporting strong sales, too. "Several of them are saying that they have never seen anything like this before: sold out within one day," Doukeris said. "We are ramping up now production and delivery because we sold out completely yesterday."

Cacti Agave Spiked Seltzer now comes in three flavors — pineapple, lime and strawberry — and has 7% alcohol by volume. Anheuser-Busch, which is a subsidiary of Belgium-based AB InBev, said in a press release the hard seltzer is made with "100% premium blue agave from Mexico."

Travis Scott, an eight-time Grammy nominee, has provided a boost to other companies he's collaborated with before. In September, after McDonald's partnered with Scott to offer his favorite meal for a limited time, the company reported some of its stores temporarily sold out of some of the needed ingredients.

McDonald's later reported strong same-store sales growth in the quarter encompassing the Scott promotion.

Doukeris said Anheuser-Busch worked closely with Scott, who uses the nickname "Cactus Jack," on the creation of the hard seltzer. "He was super hands-on on the development of the product itself: the flavors, the logo," said Doukeris, adding that Scott directed the commercial promoting Cacti that aired during the Grammy Awards show Sunday.

Cacti is not Anheuser-Busch's first foray into hard seltzer, which has had explosive growth in recent years. The company also has launched Bud Light Seltzer and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer. Cacti is the "last one to arrive in our innovation pipeline," Doukeris said.

Competition in the category has heated up, too, following the success of early players such as White Claw and Boston Beer Company's Truly in 2019. Molson Coors now has multiple offerings of its own, including Coors Seltzer, and last year it inked a distribution deal with Coca-Cola for its Topo Chico Hard Seltzer.

Doukeris said the presence of multiple hard seltzer brands is welcome, adding that the strength of beverage overall has even helped beer sales after years of decline. "We've been seeing the last 12, 14 months, the beer industry overall growing, driven by seltzers, but because seltzers are in the same aisle and same stores as beer, people are going back to beer, as well," he said.

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