Hard seltzer, also known as spiked seltzer or hard sparkling water, is a carbonated alcoholic drink fermented with sugar with low-calories and carbs than other alcoholic beverages, often with fruit flavoring. Some of these are made with spirits such as vodka, gin, or tequila, and some are brewed from fermented grains or cane sugar, which makes them fall into the category of the beer as a 'flavored malt beverage.'
The alcoholic content used in this differs from brands to brands. It is usually between 4%-6% alcohol by volume (ABV), with a calorie content of about 100 calories or in a similar range, which is identical to light beers. In the U.S, the alcohol is usually made by fermenting cane sugar, and outside of the U.S., they use either neutral spirit or fermentation of fruit. Furthermore, urbanization, changing lifestyles, a rise in the population's disposable income, and an increasing trend of alcoholic drinks among the young population increase the demand for hard seltzer in the market.
The development of new innovative flavors by combining sugar, fruity flavor, and tart and unique ingredients and introducing new fermenting processes by various companies is also augmenting the demand for hard seltzers. Therefore; the global hard seltzer market is anticipated to grow during the forecast period. However, government restrictions and the availability of alternatives may restrict the growth of the market.
The growing economic growth of the countries, travel and tourism industry, increase in alcohol consumption, and café and bar outlets are the major factors influencing the growth of alcoholic beverages and, thus, driving the global hard seltzer market's growth. Western culture's influence, changing consumers' perception towards the consumption of alcoholic beverages, rapid urbanization, and change in consumers' tastes and preferences are boosting the growth of this market. Furthermore, the growing trend of increasing consumption of alcoholic drinks among the young population and millennials is also positively impacting the hard seltzer market.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., 29% of high school students used to drink in 2019. The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 19% of young individuals aged between 12 to 20 years used to drinking alcohol, and 11% used to binge drink, which is expected to increase further and fuel this market's growth.
The change in consumer behavior is continuously changing the terms of taste and preferences of many populations, making the shift from high alcoholic content beverages to low alcoholic content beverages that are anticipated to propel the demand for hard seltzer in the market. In addition to this, as people are becoming more aware of these drinks' health benefits, they are shifting towards consuming low alcoholic content beverages like hard seltzer compared to their other counterparts. Furthermore, the economy's growth also plays an important part in individuals' alcohol consumption patterns around the region. It is observed that the more well-of the country's economy, the more alcohol is consumed in the region and a lesser number of abstainers are there. Therefore, regions like North America, South America, etc. have high alcohol consumption, increasing further.
As individuals become more aware of the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption, they prefer a balanced and healthier life choice and opting for alcoholic beverages that provide imbibing social experience. Therefore, due to this change in consumer preference, the companies in the alcoholic beverages market focus on diversifying their product portfolio by launching these low-alcohol content drinks and a variety of flavors to meet the evolving demand of the customers. Furthermore, flavored alcoholic beverages have been popular among the youngest drinkers, especially among female drinkers. Since these drinks' consumption is rising, it can be anticipated that demand for hard seltzer will also strive in the coming years.
Since the hard seltzer has low-calorie, contains less alcohol, is carbonated, and health-conscious drink, it has gained popularity among the consumer segment left unexplored by the alcoholic beverages market. These seltzers satisfy the demand for new flavors and the need for various cocktail combinations, and the convenience of usage due to environment-friendly sustainable cans. Because of all these factors, companies are trying to gain an advantage from this fast-growing trend. Still, due to the government's strict regulations regarding water resources and waste management, companies are suffering losses that may hamper the growth of the global hard seltzer market in the long run.
Furthermore, higher excise and customs duties, along with taxation policies on export and import as well as on local manufacturers, due to various health problems associated with high consumption of these drinks such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, blood clots, stroke, and even heart attack is forecasted to restrict the expansion of the global hard seltzer market. Due to this reason, various organizations across the globe are trying to raise awareness about the health, social, and economic burdens of the harmful use of alcohol.
Moreover, the WHO has set up various alcohol control policies to assess and monitor health situation and trends related to alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm to slash down alcoholic consumption. Some of these policies include monopoly and licensing, sales restrictions, age limits, drink–driving, and marketing restrictions.
Additionally, as there is an increase in alcohol price, there will be a decline in alcohol intake, morbidity, and mortality, which will further reduce its consumption. These governments across the world have imposed or inflated various taxation policies on these alcoholic beverages—for instance, import duty for imported products and excise duty and value-added tax on domestic production. The hike in the taxation prices and other various restrictions put on these alcoholic beverages is further expected to inhibit the alcoholic beverages market's growth in the upcoming years.
Apart from this, various other flavored drinks available in the market are also expected to hamper this market's growth by lowering its consumption.
Based on geography, the hard seltzer market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa. North America is expected to hold the largest market share during the forecast period due to the broader penetration of hard seltzer due to product launches increasing its demand. For instance, Sudwerk Brewing Co, a California-based company, launched a product named "Life Is Hard Seltzer" in May 2020.
The product is available in different variants with various flavors, including grapefruit flavors, black cherry, and passionfruit. Apart from this, the increasing consumption of alcohol in America is also creating a surge in demand for hard seltzers in the market; thus, driving the market's growth. According to the American Addiction Center, based on a survey in the U.S, it was observed that approximately 40% of the people were binge drinking, which shows the preference of consumers towards drinking, which is expected to boost the growth of the hard seltzers market.
The hard seltzers market comprises both small and big players in the market who are adopting the strategies of product launches in order to broaden their penetration of the product. For instance, in June 2019, Two Brooks, which is a hard seltzer company launched its products in the U.K. It is available in three flavors; Passion Star, Mango Hi-Ball, and Lime Cooler and is sold in a pack of 250ml.