Hard Seltzers - will you buy into the craze?

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 16 Aug, 2020

You may or may not have heard of Hard Seltzers. It's the latest drink trend in the US which has taken the alcoholic drinks market by storm – and it's now moved across the Atlantic to our neck of the woods. The question is – will its popularity reach the same heights on UK soil as it has in the US?

Hard what?

So what exactly are hard seltzers? Well 'hard' refers to them being alcoholic and 'seltzers' are essentially sparkling water, so in a nutshell they're alcoholic sparkling water drinks! As they originated in the US, the name is probably better suited to the US market than the UK – but that said, we're fast learners, so I'm sure the UK will catch on quickly enough!

Pros

Hard seltzers appeal to people because they tend to be low in calories (around 90 calories per 330ml can) and have low/no sugar. The alcohol content is also lower than most other alcoholic beverages of choice, when you compare serving for serving. This makes them an appealing option for those wanting a 'hard' drink, but without overindulging.

Hard seltzers also generally have a very short ingredients list, with the Brewdog version containing just water, alcohol, natural flavourings and malic acid for example. This tends to appeal to the health conscious, as more and more people are becoming increasingly interested in exactly 'what' is in the food and drink they consume.

Cons

Potentially, the upside of hard seltzers could also be their downside. As these drinks essentially taste like flavoured sparkling water, it could be all too easy to overconsume and overdo the alcohol content after a few cans. Also, while they may appeal to those who fancy an alcoholic drink that doesn’t really taste like a 'drink' – anyone who is partial to a flavourful glass of wine or beer may not buy into these particular drinks – which would be a better option to help reduce their alcohol intake.

Target audience

These drinks have become hugely popular in the US and are now the biggest competitor to beer – which is interesting given the two drinks are very different! Whether they'll take off in quite the same way over here in the UK remains to be seen. They appeal mostly to people who may be trying to reduce their calorie, sugar or alcohol intake, but still want to be able to socialise and enjoy a drink with friends. They could also be a good lower calorie and lower alcohol alternative to the ever popular gin and tonic, which has always been the classic refreshing choice in the summer. We'll just have to see!

A nutritionist’s view

Nutritionally speaking, hard seltzers are still an alcoholic drink – so not exactly up there on the health scale with your morning avo on toast. That said, if you do fancy a drink while out with friends or while relaxing at home, they would be a good choice for keeping your calorie and sugar intake down, if that's your goal.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.