White claw is a brand of commercial fruit flavored alcoholic drink relatively popular in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, white claw is not in fact a beer, both from a culinary and legal perspective1. Instead, white claw is classified as a hard seltzer, or other form of alcoholic beverage.
The exact taste of white claw differs between each individual flavor, with only the seltzer water acting as a common base between each type of white claw2. Because of this, it is difficult to pin down the exact signature taste of white claw.
Taste-wise, white claw is most often compared to sparkling water or the non-alcoholic La Croix. White claw’s alcohol percentage is quite low and any hints of alcoholic flavor are mostly masked both by the carbonation of the drink as well as any added flavors that may be present.
What Alcohol Percentage is White Claw?
Being classified as a hard seltzer, white claw has a much lower alcohol percentage than most commercially available alcoholic beverages. At only 5% alcohol percentage, this equates to roughly only 10 proof.
An alcohol percentage this low is similar to the ABV of hard cider, an alcoholic drink made from apples, and light beers of which have been diluted to achieve a low alcohol percentage by volume.
According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol, one standard alcoholic drink is 12 oz or 354mL of any 5% alcohol beverage3.
As most white claws are packaged and filled to the volume of 473 mL, this roughly equates to one and a half standard U.S. drinks per can.
Can You Get Drunk off White Claw?
Yes. Being an alcoholic beverage, white claw is perfectly capable of causing inebriation if consumed in large volumes. It is advisable to count your drinks if you are consuming multiple white claws, and to avoid operating any vehicles for several hours after drinking them.
While the amount of white claw it would take to get you drunk is highly variable depending on your body weight and gender, white claw has roughly the same amount of alcohol per volume as beer, and as such should require a similar amount to cause inebriation.
What is a Hard Seltzer?
Hard seltzer is a type of alcoholic drink characterized by the use of club soda or carbonated water as a base before different types of ethanol are added during production. Quite often, hard seltzers are flavored with sour or otherwise fruity additives that provide the primary amount of taste one would experience when drinking them.
Despite being primarily carbonated water, it is not uncommon for hard seltzers to have a significant amount of sugar for their volume, as the sweetness will help mask the taste of alcohol in the drink.
Even with an increased amount of sugar, however, hard seltzers are still somewhat healthier to consume than other types of similar alcoholic drinks, such as light beers and wine coolers.
White claw in particular has a low amount of sugar, making it lower calorie than most other brands of hard seltzer, and because of this white claw will create less of an impact on your diet.
What Kind of Alcohol Does White Claw Have?
As the seltzer water in white claw is not itself alcoholic, the manufacturers of white claw must add extrinsic ethanol alcohol in order to give it its signature ABV (alcohol by volume).
Using a gluten-free malted alcohol base, batches of white claw are carefully titrated so as to keep the alcohol percentage at a stable 5%.
While other hard seltzer brands may use different types of alcohol, white claw specifically chooses their own particular alcohol additive both because of its gluten free nature as well as the ease at which it is produced.
While the manufacturers of white claw keep the exact type and source of this alcohol a closely guarded company secret, they have so far confirmed the fact that it is from fermented sugars produced by malting gluten-free strains of grain.
What are the Different Flavors of White Claw?
White claw comes in a variety of flavors, a far cry from the few types originally released during 2016. Owing to a sudden surge in popularity and demand, white claw began further producing multiple other types of flavors so as to cater to a wider market.
As of the time this article has been written, the vast majority of white claw flavors are fruit-based, with tastes such as black cherry, watermelon and even ruby grapefruit being immediately available in single cans or to be purchased in bulk.
While the standard fruit flavored 5% ABV white claw is what most people frequently purchase, there are other types of white claw marketed under the same brand.
So far, white claw’s manufacturing company has developed four types of alcoholic seltzer-based iced tea, of which also come in fruit flavors such as peach and raspberry. With an even lower sugar content than the standard seltzer white claw, white claw’s iced tea line has a more mature and bodied taste than its counterpart.
On the higher alcohol percentage side of things, white claw’s surge line boasts a moderately stronger 8% alcohol percentage by volume, roughly the same as a standard glass of wine. Referred to as “spiked sparkling water” by the motif on the can, the surge type of white claw has a distinctly more alcoholic taste, though its sugar content remains much the same.
Can White Claw be Mixed with Other Drinks?
Though inadvisable because of its high alcohol content, white claw may be used as a flavor-booster or mixer in cocktails and similar types of drinks.
Certain types of drinks call for vodka or tequila to be added in measured amounts to white claw alongside certain other mixers.
Most commonly, white claw is mixed with grenadine and fresh fruit juice in order to produce a cocktail with a distinctly sweet and fruity taste.
1. “Customs Bulletin Weekly, Vol. 55, March 24, 2021, No. 11” (PDF). U.S. Customs and Border Protection. March 23, 2021
2. Unknown Author. (N.D.) “White Claw® Hard Seltzer | Made Pure®”. www.whiteclaw.com. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
3. Unknown Author. (N.D.) “What Is A Standard Drink?” NIAAA: Understanding the impact of alcohol on human health and well-being
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