Last week, we wrote about wine trends for 2020. One factor that we didn’t mention is how wine sales have dropped because of a new competitor: hard seltzers.

Since 2019, the American drink market has been swamped by hard seltzers. Economists and drinks specialists are predicting the hard seltzer market to reach $2.5 billion by 2021. It’s no surprise, then, that everybody is talking about them.

But are hard seltzers just an American trend, or will they cross the Atlantic and expand across Europe? Are they a real trend or just a fad that will fizz away?

Let’s take a look at what hard seltzers are and what makes them so appealing.

What are hard seltzers?

Hard seltzers are a mix of sparkling water and alcohol, with alcohol content normally kept below 5%.

Many hard seltzer producers offer a wide variety of seltzers with flavours stretching from lime, citrus, raspberry, elderflower, and ginger to berries, cucumber, peach, melon, and basil. As people become more accustomed to hard seltzers, they demand new flavours and aromas. As a result, the mixes in hard seltzers tend to be exotic, exciting, and alluring.

There are numerous reasons why hard seltzers are appealing, especially to millennials.

Hard seltzers are easy to drink

Hard seltzers usually come in cans, making them resemble refreshments or energy drinks. This also makes them easy to drink and easy to transport.

Ready-to-drink (RTD) packaged beverages are convenient and practical. People take them on the road, in picnics, in backpacks and in any outing that involves some form of eating and drinking. Their relatively small size makes them handier to drink in one go, compared to a bottle of wine which can be hard to carry around or finish in a single sitting.

Low calories, low carbs, gluten-free

Hard seltzers are low in calories, a can generally having fewer than 100 calories.

This gives them a healthy image, especially compared to sugary sodas. Health-conscious consumers like them for both their lack of added sugar and rich flavour.

They are also gluten-free, which makes them ideal for people looking after their diet and health. As people are looking for a more balanced health style with little sugar intake, hard seltzers can fit in with such a trend.

Hard seltzers have a low alcohol content

Several studies suggest that people are drinking less alcohol compared to previous years and older generations. However, this does not mean that consumers don’t want a little bit of alcohol in their lives.

Hard seltzers contain less than 5% of alcohol, making them an interesting alternative to alcoholic beverages and alcoholic cocktails. Their alcohol content is equivalent to that of beer, but they have the added bonus of various flavours which differentiate them.

A small, affordable luxury

As incomes increase, consumers are looking to premium drinks that offer health benefits with a touch of luxury.

Hard seltzers seem to belong to that category: they are an affordable luxury. People can make recurring purchases of hard seltzers without breaking the bank but while still feeling they are indulging in something fancy.

Will the rest of the world catch up?

Harrods has started selling hard seltzers and the British market seems to be the next step for hard seltzers producers to expand their sales.

It has been noticed that the majority of sales occur in the summer in the United States. The summer of 2020 will show how sales shape throughout the continent, and whether tourists in summer resorts will start asking for hard seltzers during their stays.

However, most drinks specialists seem to agree that it is a promising market that will keep expanding.