Every season has a new “hot” product. Something new on the scene can establish itself as a trend in the beverage world and make a significant splash on the scene. This past summer I would say that hard seltzer filled that role. Hard seltzer, sometimes referred to as “spiked seltzer” was a virtually unknown category only a year ago. However, this past summer we literally could not keep it on the shelf. All our suppliers sold out of every brand of this product with the rapid growth it experienced.
So, what exactly is hard seltzer? Imagine your La Croix Sparkling water with about 5% alcohol and there you have hard seltzer. I prefer the term hard seltzer over spiked seltzer for a few reasons. First, there is a brand within this category called “Spiked”, so that can get confusing. Also, this product contains no hard alcohol, so I find spiked to be somewhat misleading in that regard. Hard seltzer is made by cold brewing cane sugar and fermenting it to about 5 % ABV. They come in a variety of flavors and are usually less than 100 calories. A few brands, namely Truly and White Claw are also gluten free, providing a comparatively healthier drinking experience.
As I mentioned before, we have had some supply issues with all brands that make this category as a result of the fast growth within the category. The brands that have finally become available most of the time are, Truly, Spiked and Henry Weinhart’s. Right now we are carrying a 12pk variety pack of the Truly brand, which has gotten some pretty great reviews. We also have a variety pack of the Spiked brand. We carry 6pk bottles of Henry Weinhart’s and Truly when they are available. My advice would be to go with one of the sample packs and try a variety of flavors to find your favorite. You will find all these products in our ciders/coolers door located near the registers in the front of the store.
I know the weather is getting cooler. However, I do not think this category is a “summer only” trend. If you are looking for a low calorie option, hard seltzer is for you. The alcohol in these products is also incredibly well hidden and I have heard it touted as a good morning drink. So give this new trend a try and see what you think!
-Dean LoRusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart