Even if there may soon be too many hard seltzers on the market, the category is still growing rapidly. The volume of hard seltzer in the United States is expected to more than quadruple by 2023, from the present level of roughly 82.5 million nine-liter cases, as reported by alcoholic beverage trend monitor IWSR.
The survey found that hard seltzer and other “seltzer-like” products increased their market share from 0.85% to 2.6% in the last year. The majority of these beverages boast low calorie counts and include both artificial and natural tastes; nonetheless, they frequently leave a chemical aftertaste in the mouth. Yes, even so-called “natural flavors” include chemical molecules, although those chemicals are derived from plants or animals rather than being synthesized in a lab.
What Exactly Is Flavor?
Chris Wirth, co-founder of the hard seltzer company Volley, explains, “We started Volley because we know that there can be over 100 ingredients in a ‘flavor’ without being required to disclose any of them—none of which are the actual ingredient they are trying to mimic.” As the old adage goes, “Let’s be honest, we can all taste the difference between a lab created flavor and the real thing.”
In that case, why don’t more manufacturers of canned hard seltzer replace artificial tastes with actual fruit juice? According to Wirth, this is because it is more difficult to create a canned drink shelf-stable with genuine fruit juice and, unsurprisingly, it is more costly to use actual juice than natural tastes. Because of these problems, most companies substitute artificial sweeteners for real fruit juice, diminishing the taste.
There are other options for healthy drinking besides Volley, such as the increasing number of canned hard seltzers made with actual fruit juice and full components. Listed below are a few of the top hard seltzers in cans that are prepared with 100% genuine fruit juice.
Wirth and his wife Camila Soriano created Volley in June of 2020; between them, they have 15 years of experience in the alcoholic beverage business. Volley was created when researchers discovered that most commercial hard seltzers include fermented cane juice as the spirit and those feared natural flavors.
Volley is made using tequila made from 100% blue agave, soda water, and organic fruit juice. It is available in four different flavors (zingy lime, spicy ginger, sharp grapefruit, and tropical mango) and tastes just like it should: like somewhat boozy fruit juice. It’s a refreshing drink that’s ideal for the warmer weather.
This Massachusetts company combines the classic combination of vodka and soda and refreshes it with actual fruit juice for a tasty canned drink. Cranberry lime, grapefruit, blackberry, and clementine are just some of the flavors available. Both the citrus and blackberry flavors are tangy and not too sweet. Each can contains just 2.2 grams of sugar, yet it still has true fruit flavor and is suitable for adults.
3. Lunar Lunar
In response to the lack of Asian ingredients and products in alcoholic beverages served at their favorite Asian eateries, two college friends started Lunar. Kevin Wong and Sean Ro, the company’s founders, set out to produce a hard seltzer that reflected their shared Asian American ancestry by using only the highest quality ingredients sourced from Asia. Alcohol distilled from maize and sugar is blended with genuine fruit juice to create flavors like yuzu, lychee, and plum. Plums come from Korea, lychees from Thailand, and fresh yuzu from Japan.
4. Ficks Ficks
Ficks’ canned hard seltzer debuted in 2018 as one of the first products of its kind. Ron Alvarado and Mike Williamson, who started the company and are based in San Francisco, came up with the idea for the seltzer and came up with the unique alcohol basis by fermenting California oranges in a way that was reminiscent of winemaking. Mango, blackberry, cranberry, and grapefruit are just few of the fruits that stand out in this dish.
Two varieties, tart passion fruit and tangy Calamansi lime, were introduced in January 2021. The organic agave liquor used in the foundation of this drink comes from a family farm just outside of Jalisco, Mexico, and is combined with fresh fruit juice, carbonated water, agave syrup, sea salt, and other natural ingredients.
The Philippines and Ecuador provide the fruits, both of which have ethical origins. Greta Caruso and Ali Schmidt, formerly of the online grocery company Good Eggs, established Zuzu. As of right now, Zuzu is only accessible in New York, but on April 26 they will begin delivering nationwide.
6. Willie’s Superbrew
When goat farmer Willie’s ginger homebrew caught the attention of Nico Enriquez, he teamed up with him to create a hard seltzer flavored with alcohol derived from cane sugar and actual fruit juice. There’s the classic Lemon & Ginger, as well as seasonal flavors like Grapefruit & Lime available just this summer and others like Pomegranate & Acai, Mango & Passionfruit, Pineapple & Lime, Blueberry & Lemon. Every year, customers propose and vote on a nonprofit environmental charity to receive 3 percent of Willie’s annual revenues.
7. Más Agave
Michigan’s renowned brewers Blue agave nectar, cane sugar, carbonated water, sea salt, and genuine fruit juice are what go into Founder’s Brewing’s hard seltzer, which was introduced in August of 2020. Its strawberry taste comes from real fruit juice, making it unique among hard seltzers; other varieties include grapefruit and lime.
After the Founders VP of marketing diluted some of the company’s strong Más Agave beer with seltzer for his wife and she enjoyed it, the idea for Más Agave hard seltzer was born. After months of testing and tweaking, the product finally went on sale in select areas in October 2020 and to the general public this spring.