Hard seltzer is sparkling water with a flavor and alcohol.
It couldn't be simpler, and yet it has already conquered North America.
In the Netherlands you also see more and more cans of hard seltzer on the shelves, but for the time being it is mainly a media hype.
Coca-cola has recently started producing a hard seltzer, just like Heineken, Budweiser and Corona.
Then it must be something, right?
In any case, Canadians and Americans think so.
According to research firm IRI, 8 percent of American households now buy hard seltzer.
Some of those consumers switch from another alcohol category, two thirds of them switched from beer to hard seltzer.
That concerns enormous numbers.
"If something like this happens in the Netherlands, there will be layoffs," says food trend watcher Gijsbregt Brouwer.
He first heard about the alcoholic sparkling water at the end of 2018.
Now, fifteen to twenty new producers have been added in the Netherlands alone in recent months, says Brouwer.
"Hard seltzer is really a media and entrepreneurial trend right now. It's hip to have your own company in the
food & beverage
business, so many start-ups and small producers are picking up on this. After all, everyone wants to be the next Red Bull."
"The drink fits in well with the spirit of the times of responsible alcohol consumption, low-calorie and natural ingredients."
Gianluca De Leo
Reinier Kamphuis also quickly saw potential in hard seltzer.
With his distribution company Bier & Co, he is always looking for new developments and products and since July this year there are three hard seltzers in his range.
"It is the first time that the entire industry has come together and is jumping into a new drink. From craft breweries to start-ups and large players. Hard seltzer does not really fit into one existing category."
One of the start-ups that has started producing a hard seltzer is Bozu.
Gianluca De Leo is co-founder and owner and took the leap from secondment to beverage production in 2019.
"Together with Brend Koolhof, I learned about the success of vodka soda in Canada. That was before it became popular in the US, and we decided to take the adventure. In May 2019, we released our first hard seltzer and Bozu was launched nationally in June 2020. The drink fits well in the spirit of the time of responsible alcohol consumption, low-calorie and natural ingredients. "
“In recent months, fifteen to twenty new producers have been added in the Netherlands alone.”
“I also believe that there is room for hard seltzer in the Netherlands,” says Brouwer.
"It doesn't have the sugary and carbohydrate content of other drinks and young generations are looking for new flavors, special brands and natural ingredients."
A sparkling water culture
Yet the trend watcher also makes a comment: "The difference with the US is that they did not have a sparkling water culture there, as we know it. And certainly not sparkling water with a taste. When it was introduced there not so long ago by La Croix. , the step to adding alcohol was quickly made. In my opinion, the sale of that water category is not going very well here and the Dutch prefer to stick to natural sparkling water. "
For the time being, the question remains whether it will remain with a media and entrepreneurial trend or whether the Dutch consumer will be just as enthusiastic.