Flavour of the Week: Seltzers

Consumer trends are driving the sales of the seltzer category, and with the rise of sparkling water manufacturers are looking to stand out in the category by adding alcohol.

Often called hard seltzers, the alcohol-infused sparkling water has generated sparkling sales overseas in recent years and the darling product of the millennial set. Sales have skyrocketed and according to Nielsen, have maintained a 215% growth pace across retail.

“Hard seltzer sales have taken off, in part, by aligning with consumer interest in health and wellness, as these drinks generally feature fewer calories, carbs and sugar than heavier beers, wines or cocktails, and are on the low end in alcohol by volume,” said Danelle Kosmal, VP of beverage alcohol for Nielsen. “Consumers also value the convenience, assortment and bold flavour options of hard seltzers.”

There are two main types that are currently on the market, one is a sparkling water with added spirits, similar to a pre-mixer. The other is brewed more like a beer.

While retailers look to incorporate this growing segment on their shelves, they should also look to local and craft players, as well as the bigger manufacturers, to provide consumers with a wide range of choice and to also draw in a new audience.

Here are our top picks for the Seltzers you should have on your shelf.

Natural fruit flavours blended with a neutral alcohol base and NZ sparkling water. Crisp and refreshing, naturally low in sugar and preservative free.

Made in Tauranga. Available to supermarkets in 10 pack or single cans.

Brought to you by the team at Good George, Real Good is the latest addition to its line-up. Made from a triple filtered cider base, soda water and real fruit with absolutely no additives or additional flavours. With 20% real fruit juice the team at Good George doubt you will find another product with anywhere near as much real fruit juice as theirs. Low in sugar and just 135 calories, Good George's Real Good Seltzer is small batched, craft-brewed and gluten-free. The triple filtered seltzer is a purified cider and is available in Mandarin and Lime flavour, with a passionfruit variant soon to be launched.

To order, email freshbrew@goodgeorge.co.nz.

'Ray hard seltzer was launched in May 2020 by Hop Nation, a craft brewery in Footscray, Melbourne and is one of the first craft breweries in Australia to launch a hard seltzer brand and the product is brewed like a beer on-site.

The brand is the brainchild of friends and brewers, Sam Hambour and Duncan Gibson, who saw the trend of hard seltzers in the US, where sales now exceed $1billion annually, and are growing exponentially. Hambour and Gibson took the opportunity to create something similar for the local market.

'Ray Hard Seltzer flavours have only 88 calories, and less than one gram of sugar per can. Perfect for health conscious consumers, and it also serves as a great low-calorie alternative to beer.

There are currently three flavours available - water & mint, peach, and lemon & lime, and each flavour is derived from real fruit and has no added sugar. It is also vegan, gluten reduced and has 1.2 standard drinks per can.

Club Setter is New Zealand’s response to the growing global seltzer trend, with the category rapidly accelerating in growth over the last five years. In the United States alone, the seltzer category is estimated to reach USD$4.5 billion in 2020*, almost tripling in value with a predicted 270% increase from 2019**.

Low in sugar (1.7 grams per can) and with less than 100 calories per can, Club Setter Seltzer has been developed to cater to the growing cultural trend towards living a balanced lifestyle and offers a great new option that anyone can enjoy.

Club Setter Seltzers deliver a pleasantly light and refreshing taste and are available in two delicious natural fruit flavours:

  • Club Setter Watermelon and Strawberry: Summary watermelon combines beautifully with ripe strawberry flavour for a light, refined refreshing seltzer.
  • Club Setter Tropical: An invigorating burst of mango, passionfruit and pineapple combine for a delicious tropical flavour, followed by a dry, smooth seltzer finish.

Kiwis fishing for the next big thing will soon be able to snap-up a few delicious new drink options with the launch of the alcoholic beverage brand Pure Piraña.

Low in sugar (1.7 grams per can) and containing fewer than 100 calories per can, Pure Piraña seltzers offer a fresh new option for a modern generation of consumers who are increasingly conscious of their consumption habits and lifestyle choices.

In a style that has seen huge popularity overseas* Pure Piraña seltzers cater to consumer demand for naturally flavoured, fruity-but-not-sweet alcoholic drink options.

Pure Piraña seltzers are available in two exciting flavours:

-        Pure Piraña Lime: With a crisp, refreshing zesty lime flavour, Pure Piraña Lime delivers pure citrus sharpness in a low sugar seltzer style.

-        Pure Piraña Raspberry: A subtly sweet option with a clean finish, Pure Piraña Raspberry offers juicy raspberry flavour in an effervescent, dry seltzer style.