With all the fuss over hard sodas lately, it’s no wonder that brewers are exploring additional options in the sweet- and fruit-flavored beverage space. Concerns over sugar content and calories in hard sodas might keep some consumers away from hard root beers and ginger ales. Meanwhile, sales of carbonated bottled water have nearly doubled since 2012, according to IRI data, and artisanal sparkling waters and seltzers have been making a comeback among consumers eager for brands like Clearly Canadian and La Croix that kindle feelings of nostalgia, which also plays into alcoholic soda sales. With three companies recently launching alcoholic sparkling waters, this emerging trend could signal a new wave of innovation.
Nick Shields—a veteran of juice company Nantucket Nectars and Wölffer Estate winery—cofounded Norwalk, Connecticut–based Boathouse Beverage in 2013. The company’s SpikedSeltzer launched in October of that year. The 6-percent abv gluten-free beverages—which include West Indies Lime, Valencia Orange, Indian River Grapefruit and Cape Cod Cranberry variants—are made with cold-fermented sugar, cold-pressed fruit and purified Adirondack water. Each serving has 140 calories and five grams of carbohydrates. SpikedSeltzer is currently available in 13 states, with expansion planned, and is sold in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles or cans ($8.99) and 12-packs of cans ($15.99). For more information, visit Spikedseltzer.com.
Truly Spiked & Sparkling
Boston Beer Co.—which already plays in the hard soda space with its Coney Island brand—formed the Hard Seltzer Beverage Co. and debuted Truly Spiked & Sparkling water this April. The 5-percent abv gluten-free beverages are made from cane sugar and have 100 calories and two grams of carbohydrates per serving. Truly Spiked & Sparkling ($9.99 to $10.99 a six-pack of 12-ounce bottles; $15.99 a 12-pack of bottles or 12-ounce cans) comes in Colima Lime, Grapefruit & Pomelo, and Pomegranate variants. After an initial launch in 16 U.S. markets, the brand is now available nationwide. For more information, visit Trulyspikedsparkling.com.
Westminster, Massachusetts–based Wachusett Brewing Co. formed Craft Cocktail Co. in May 2015 and introduced its first product, Nauti Seltzer, in April 2016. The brand boasts Raspberry, Grapefruit, Lemon-Lime and Cranberry flavors which each have 110 calories and five grams of carbohydrates per serving. Made from a clear malt base, the 5-percent abv offering is available in six-packs of 12-ounce cans ($9.99); 12-packs will launch this fall. Represented by St. Killian Importing, the brand is currently available in six Northeast states. The company will add eight Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern markets by June, and further expansion is planned. For more information, visit Nautiseltzer.com.