Whether it’s television and YouTube commercials or social media posts, it’s hard to escape the latest alcoholic beverage craze: hard seltzer.
In 2019, hard seltzer sales were at $4.4 billion and those figures are expected to climb more than 16% from 2020 to 2027. But what is hard seltzer, exactly? And is it true that it’s a healthier option than high-calorie, high-sugar booze?
What Is Hard Seltzer?
Also known as spiked seltzer, alcoholic seltzer, or hard sparkling water, hard seltzer is carbonated water combined with alcohol and fruit flavoring. Depending on the hard seltzer brand, these fruit flavors can come from real fruit juice or artificial flavoring.
Some of the most common flavors include a variety of citrus, berries, and tropical fruits, such as:
- Black Cherry
- Blood Orange
- Lemon Lime
- Passion Fruit
- Ruby Grapefruit
Pro tip: To make sure you’re getting a seltzer that hasn’t been spiked with chemical additives or added sugars, always check the ingredients label.
How Is Hard Seltzer Made?
As with any alcoholic beverage, the key to its boozy nature lies in the fermentation process. That’s when yeast consumes any sugars that are present and converts them into alcohol. For hard seltzer, it typically comes from straight-up fermented cane sugar or cereals. So basically most Companies are using GNS (Grain Neutral Spirit at 96% alc), Neutral Spirit from Cane Sugar at 96% alc, but it can also be neutral spirit from fruits : Apple or grape mostly.
The alcohol content of most spiked seltzers falls in the range of 4-6% alcohol by volume (ABV) — about the same as light beer — although some can be as high as 12% ABV.
Lower alcohol also means fewer calories. The amount of sugar varies from brand to brand, but you’ll usually find the most popular hard seltzer brands touting their low-sugar content, which tends to be no more than 3 grams of sugar per serving.
Is Hard Seltzer a Healthy Drink?
While it would be uncorrect to say that spiked seltzer is a healthy drink that should be part of your daily wellness routine, it could be consican-5317959_1920 copydered a healthier option to traditionally sugary drinks such as soda, wine coolers, and fruity cocktails.
Part of the reason why spiked seltzer is so popular is that it checks off a lot of the boxes for health-conscious consumers. You know the boxes we’re talking about: gluten-free, low-calorie, low-sugar, low-carb, and low-alcohol.
It’s Easy to Like Hard Seltzer … Just Be Smart About It
What is hard seltzer? Now that you know the answer to that question (carbonated water mixed with alcohol and fruit flavoring!), you might be asking yourself if it’s worth the hype.
Hard seltzer seems like an appealing option when you look at all the healthy qualities it offers — fewer calories and carbs, lower alcohol, gluten-free ingredients, and low sugar content — but you have to look deeper. Not all sugars are created equal and not all hard seltzer brands are transparent about how they source their ingredients. Once you get more details, then you can make the right decision for your lifestyle.
And if you do need Neutral Spirits (GNS, Apple Spirit, Grape Spirit, Cane sugar, etc) for your hard seltzer recipes, contact us. We will be happy at Crafted Spirits to speak about your future requirements.