Move over Aperol Spritz, there’s a new drink in town.
This summer is set to be filled with boozy reunions as we meet for picnics and BBQs post-lockdown.
However, with popular ready-to-drink, pre-mixed spirits being extremely high in sugar and calories, what’s the tipple of choice for those seeking a healthier alternative?
The trend for clean and mindful drinking is on the rise, so it’s no surprise that sales of hard seltzers (alcoholic, fruit-flavoured sparkling water) have spiked recently, as consumers search out healthy, low-calorie drinks.
Brits consumed around £12million-worth of hard seltzer in 2020, according to Kantar figures –and retailer Whole Foods Market reported a 150 per cent increase in sales of the fizzy stuff in March 2021 versus March 2020.
With the market for these drinks becoming more crowded every day, Goldman Sachs is now predicting the hard seltzer market will reach $30billion by 2025.
‘After the rising obsession around clean eating, the arrival of clean drinking seemed inevitable,’ says Dan Hooper, co-founder of YesMore drinks marketing agency.
‘For most people, clean drinking is about choosing an alcohol-free option, whereas the rise of the hard seltzer is about perceived cleaner drinking. This is where you consume something that is seen as a little less bad for you, in ways unrelated to alcohol content.’
Bacardi’s annual trends report backs this up by saying the ready-to-drink market is leading the charge when it comes to drinking at home and consumers are actively seeking ingredients with fewer artificial additives and refined sugar as they seek out cleaner drinks post-lockdown.
‘Hard seltzer is lower in alcohol, refreshing and eminently portable – so it fits in where beer might have been drunk in the past,’ says Dan. ‘It has such broad appeal because it is lower alcohol than many canned cocktails, easier to drink than wine, young, fashionable and seen as a health-conscious choice. The UK market is primed for people to try them.’
But what about staying power post-summer?
‘That’ll ultimately come down to whether people actually enjoy them,’ adds Dan. ‘Otherwise, they’ll be in for the same buying pattern as gym memberships and vodka sodas – something consumed for the first half of the year which will slowly decline in favour of old favourites.’
With hard seltzers set to become the go-to beverage this summer, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular drinks on the market for you to explore…
Clean & Press Hard Seltzer
Created by BrewDog Distilling Co, these are five per cent ABV and there’s no carbs or sugar, just Scottish sparkling water, single malt Rogue Wave vodka and natural flavourings.
Choose from cactus and lime, white peach and mango and crushed black cherry.
Mixed Pack, £19.95 (12 x 330ml), brewdog.com.
Naughty Water Boozy Seltzer
Created by ex-Love Island contestant Charlie Brake, these are vodka-based, vegan-friendly and have just 72 calories per can. They are also sugar, gluten and carb-free and each flavour comes with added Vitamin C and 5% ABV.
Available in blood orange, mango and passionfruit and cranberry.
£2.39 (250ml), drinksupermarket.com.
Made with Number1 Sparkling Water, a twist of orange and Declaration Gin, this sugar free hard seltzer is just 58 calories and at the lower end of the boozy spectrum with 3% ABV.
£30 (12 x 250ml), number1seltzer.com.
White Claw Hard Seltzer
This American hard seltzer brand has a gluten-free alcohol base, mixed with sparkling water and a hint of natural fruit flavour. It boasts 4.5% ABV and is 95 calories. There are four flavours: mango, raspberry, natural lime and black cherry.
£2.50 (330ml), tesco.com.
Fewer than 70 calories, this uses all-natural fruit juices and a neutral grain spirit. The three flavours are 4% ABV, gluten-free and low in sugar.
£28.50 (12 x 250ml), longshotdrinks.co.uk.
Made with sparkling water, carb-free alcohol (fermented apples) and natural fruit flavours, these come in white citrus, mango passion and raspberry rosé flavours. Cansare 4% ABV and 89 calories. Gluten free and vegan friendly.
Mixed case, £24.75 (12 x330ml), amazon.co.uk.
Funkin Hard Seltzers
Triple-distilled vodka, sparkling water and fruit flavours, these are 4.5% ABV and come in at less than 97 calories. Choose from passion fruit & mango, strawberry & raspberry and lemon & lime.
£2.50 each (330ml), funkincocktails.co.uk.
With zero sugar and just 57 calories per can these has a 4% ABV. Made from a four-times-distilled gluten-free spirit, both raspberry and lime flavours are vegan friendly. No artificial additives or sweeteners.
Variety Pack, £10 (4 x 250ml), serveddrinks.co.uk.
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.
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