Will the hard seltzer transform the alcoholic drinks market, or is it all hype and no flavour?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last couple of years, you’ll be aware of the latest craze to hit the alcoholic drinks market. The hard seltzer is providing a healthier alternative to beer and ready to drink alcoholic drinks that usually come packed with sugar.
For anyone doubting the future of the hard seltzer market, forecasts show it will “far surpass” initial predictions of 281 million case sales in the US by 2023, two years early, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. This was echoed by the Stone Brewing CEO, Maria Stipp, who stated “At the current rate, seltzer will pass craft in terms of category size. So, that’s meaningful to us.” This also highlights the huge trend in breweries and distillers getting involved in the hard seltzer market.
What is a hard seltzer?
Hard seltzers are incredibly simple and cheap to produce – carbonated water, with alcohol and flavourings. The product gained fame in the US with the eye-catching White Claw who were the first brand to gain real attention. Since then countless brands and drink developers have jumped on the craze to try to recreate the popular White Claw product.
You’ll be able to spot a hard seltzer a mile off as all the branding seem to follow the same design style – a white can and a splash of bright colour. Brewdog, Smirnoff, Kopparberg are some of the bigger brands to try their hand, but the market is also full of young start-up’s looking to target the growing health-conscious consumer segment.
So, does hard seltzer live up to the promise?
Given all the pretty packaging and huge hype, do these products deliver on flavour? Close, but no cigar. We think they are currently just falling short. Sure, they taste fruity and some even try adding some other ingredients to make them slightly more interesting – but for us, they always end up falling a little flat. It’s a bit like how flavoured water never really hugely took off – yeah, it tastes ok, but not something that’ll blow you away.
We love a little tipple at I.T.S. so took it upon ourselves to pretty much taste all the hard seltzers currently available in UK supermarkets. A very mixed bag of results, some simply didn’t deliver and some offered real promise, however, none blew us away.
One of the biggest issues we found was the complete lack of mouthfeel in the products, which just make them feel very plain and empty. Of course, the lack of sugar is also an issue as we are used to our fruity products being nice and sweet.
Revolutionising the flavour of the hard seltzer
We started thinking, these hard seltzers have so much promise, but aren’t quite there yet – how can we help? We knew they needed to be sweeter and have a more advanced mouthfeel, but still not increase the sugar content. Easy.
Enter our new 100% natural sweetness and mouthfeel booster, SweetLITE Body. By using SweetLITE Body you can add both the missing sweetness and mouthfeel to a hard seltzer without big changes in the ingredients listed on the can. This game-changing solution is simply labelled as a natural flavouring and inulin.
Problem solved. The drink is expected to take more than 15 per cent of the US beer and cider market by 2024, and also showing similar signs of growth in the UK.
Want to give it a go? Get in touch to request a sample of SweetLITE Body.