Drinking hard or hardly drinking?

First published in Ferment Magazine issue 61

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In this article I take a look at hard seltzer and consider how well it is likely to do in the UK, and whether it poses a threat to small British brewers.

Hard Seltzer has a very different image (White Claw memes aside). Its cans are sleeker and its designs more sophisticated. Instead of ‘gets you pissed quick’, it plays on lightness, refreshment, wellness, and natural flavours. They are low in calories and many brands are also quick to point that they are vegan and gluten-free. The majority are totally clear and colourless, finish clean and dry on the palate, and… don’t taste of much, to be honest.

Hard seltzer makers have taken aim at a somewhat older drinker – ages 25 and up – who is more concerned with things like calories and bloating. Someone who still wants to be social and get a buzz on with their mates, but who is much less likely to wake up in a skip and brag about it afterwards.

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