Social Media Shortage: White Claw and Popeyes Weren’t Ready

Summer 2019 was defined by two food crazes: White Claw and Popeyes’ chicken sandwich.

I mean, together they sound like a good Friday night on a college campus to me.

But both of whom, in the last few weeks, have claimed there was a nationwide shortage.

Is it because they are that good or is it because it’s what everyone else was doing?

The answer is yes.

First off, in the beginning of August, it was announced that Popeyes was coming out with a chicken sandwich. I mean, in all these years, how have they not had a chicken sandwich? Either way, I tried it and it lived up to the hype.

White Claw, a company that’s been around since 2016, became a real hit this summer when spiked seltzer took the last year by storm. I ended up trying the Black Cherry version and it was okay. It didn’t make me run out to the store and buy a package of it.

According to CNN and data from Nielsen.

White Claw has blown up recently, sparking memes and trend pieces. Sales of the drink grew 283% to $327.7 million in July compared to the same period last year. Its sales also accounted for nearly 55% of all hard seltzer sales for the week of July 4, a 200% increase since 2018’s Fourth of July sales, according to data from Nielsen

Social media added to the craze. It’s no secret. There were #WhiteClawLaws in which “There Are No Laws When Drinking Claws” and the #ChickenWars with Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Zaxby’s Shake Shack (?) and Popeyes having a nice social media exchange. When people see everyone else doing it or enjoying a product, they normally want to try or join in on the fun.

This was just too good.


In the case of Popeyes, they added the supply and demand without saying it was going to be for a limited time only. It made people go crazy. They underestimated the power of social media and it’s now been two weeks or so without any chicken sandwiches. Businesses had to post on their doors that they were out of the sandwich.

Could it ultimately have hurt them in the short-term as people may have only wanted the sandwich and not a leg, thigh, or breast? No one knows except Popeyes when the sandwich is set to return.

What’s truly shocking is that White Claw didn’t anticipate the potential shortage. If they lose their market share, as to which stated above is 55%, it will be their own doing.

More and more companies are coming out with their own hard seltzer. Hard Claw was in the lead of their race, stopped for a refueling, but it may be too late for them to come back in to get back into first place.

It’s a slippery slop when it comes to supply and demand, but there’s a reason why some sharks on Shark Tank let their businesses know to be ready for a potential viral moment.

Letting your customers down after getting their hopes up could cause more harm than good.

Either way, I’m hungry and it’s not even noon.