We know alcohol can be full of empty calories, but sometimes you just need a cold beer after a long day at work or during a night out with friends. And that’s fine — balance is important! But the calories in alcohol can add up quickly, especially if “one beer” turns into two or three.
But what if there was a drink that could satisfy your fizzy cravings without messing with your meal plan? Enter: White Claw, the flavored malt beverage has taken the market by storm.
What is White Claw?
White Claw is an alcoholic seltzer (5% to 8% ABV) made with a simple blend of seltzer water, a gluten-free alcohol base, and infused fruit flavor. The roster of available flavors is growing faster than beards in this country and includes raspberry, black cherry, mango, lime, and grapefruit along with a couple dozen others.
Naturally sweetened with a small amount of pure cane sugar — and no artificial ingredients or high-fructose corn syrup — most White Claw varieties clock in at just 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce can.
Is White Claw Healthier Than Beer?
Although hard seltzer is now a nearly $9 billion category with mass appeal, it’s not necessarily that much healthier than beer. “Alcohol is still a poison any way you look at it, and you can still get fat from excess alcohol,” says Denis Faye, M.S.
And while White Claw is marketed as a lower-calorie alternative to beer, the difference in calories is actually pretty small. “Take Stella Artois, which contains about 150 calories a bottle — you’re only really saving 40 calories,” Faye says. “If you like the taste of hard seltzer, cool — but if you prefer beer, just have the beer.”
The focus, he adds, should really be on how much you’re drinking rather than what type of beverage you choose. If you have more than a drink or two — whether it’s beer or seltzer — the calories in alcohol are going to start adding up.
Should You Hop on the White Claw Trend?
Hard seltzer sales have skyrocketed over the past half decade or so, and White Claw accounts for around almost half of all hard seltzer sales. The wildly trendy drink has spawned Instagram fan accounts, and the hashtag #whiteclaw has been used nearly 300,000 times. That’s some serious beverage loyalty.
It’s not surprising when you consider the popularity of fruit-infused sparkling waters such as La Croix. Like its nonalcoholic counterparts, White Claw is light, not too sweet, and offers several refreshing flavors to choose from.
And the natural ingredients in White Claw appeal to health-conscious consumers looking for alternatives to sugary drinks. For example, one brand of canned tequila margarita contains 360 calories and 27 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can. We love a margarita, but if you’re looking to cut back on sugar, White Claw Natural Lime Hard Seltzer has only 2 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can and less than one-third of the calories.
So should you be drinking White Claw? Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference — and moderation. If your fridge is already stocked with sparkling waters, chances are you’ll love the taste of White Claw, and the lower calorie count is a bonus. But if nothing can replace your favorite IPA, go ahead and enjoy one — just keep in mind the daily recommendations for alcohol are one drink for women and two drinks for men, no matter what beverage you choose.