Sun's out, cans out! 8 hard seltzers you can buy in the UK
The hard seltzer hype in the US has quickly spread to the UK and it's looking like it could be THE drink of summer 2021
Imagine the scene: The sun's glaring down on your very pale body that's been hidden away during those dark winter lockdown months. The vitamin D is doing its thing, you're feeling good and so are your friends, as you all sit in the garden and take a sip of your... hard seltzers?!
Yeah, it's a bit of an odd thought for us Brits. Champions of a trusty pint of IPA or a classic G&T, the idea of drinking a brewed sugar or barley fermented fruity beverage 'spiked' with a little tipple has had mixed reviews. (See what I did there?)
Originally rising to popularity in the US back in 2012, the idea of the hard seltzer came to Nick Shields at a bar in Connecticut as he watched a group of women order a round of vodka sodas. Shields set up the OG SpikedSeltzer, and things went national from there, with famous companies like White Claw creating their own and becoming a household name.
For those of you that like to know a bit about your evening (or morning, noon? no judgements here) tipple before you drink it, it's interesting to note that hard seltzers aren't simply just vodka mixed with a flavoured sparkling water. Traditionally made in the US with either brewed sugar or fermented barley, hard seltzers are technically regulated as beer. This meant you could buy them from shops in states where drinks containing vodka were actually banned.
Nothing like a good drink-related fact!
The next in fashion?
When White Claw launched in the UK last June, other hard seltzer companies started popping up on the high streets, US and local players alike. While the term hard-seltzer still remains unknown to some, (and sacrilege to others), many have started to enjoy a can or two due to its low alcohol/low calorie/low sugar combination.
Although some find the taste of the hard seltzer a little lacklustre – one stand out review from a friend being, "meh," others say they find them refreshing and enjoy their fruity, and sometimes herbal, flavours; from Berczy's passionfruit and turmeric to Brewdog's white peach and mango.
With health-conscious living, both physical and mental, becoming a pivotal talking point as we cautiously wave goodbye to tight lockdown restrictions, the hard seltzer could potentially find its place in the UK market for those looking to focus a little more on their health and wellbeing.
Intrigued by the Marmite-esque world of the hard seltzer? Here's eight different brands that might just tempt you to give them a try, or give you an idea for a new one to try.
1. Long Shot hard seltzer
Image credit: Rachael Hogg
Long Shot hard seltzers came about after founders George Blurton and Hugo Hodgson got a bit fed up of the 9-5 life. They're made and produced in rural Herefordshire, using local ingredients, and high quality fruit juice, with nothing artificial added.
Available in three flavours: grapefruit, raspberry & blackcurrant, and strawberry & rhubarb, each one is under 70 calories, vegan, gluten-free and low in sugar. In 2020 they won a Great Taste Award for their raspberry & blackcurrant seltzer, and they've recently been nominated as finalists in the Food & Drink Heroes Awards.
Drink 'em straight from the can, or mix up some low calorie skinny cocktails with one of the recipes on their site. We'll take a Paloma, if you're offering.
2. Clean & Press Hard Seltzer (aka Brewdog)
Image credit: Brewdog
It was only a matter of time before quirky and award-winning Scottish brewers, Brewdog got involved in the hard seltzer market. Founded in 2007 and famous for their Punk IPA and other fun flavoured brews, Clean & Press was meant to be a 12-18 month project that founders Martin Dickie and James Watt put the accelerator on due to Covid.
Clean & Press do not use the fermentation process like many US brands, its hard seltzers being a mixture of their own single-malt vodka, Rogue Wave, sparkling Scottish water and natural fruit flavouring.
With four flavours to choose from; white peach and mango, crushed black cherry, passionfruit and kiwi, and cactus and lime, Clean & Press hard seltzers are 90 calories a tin, with no carbs and no sugars.
Poured over ice, or a tin straight from the ice bucket, Brewdog fans with a hankering for something a little lighter might've just found themselves the answer.
3. Chase's Gin Seltzers
Image credit: Chase Distillery
Chase Distillery has a pretty cool story, starting off with mashed potatoes – let's be real, we're hooked already. Based on a farm, the distillery ferment potato mash, giving the peel to their cattle, and the spent mash is used as fertiliser for their farm in Herefordshire.
Distilled through their copper pot still and rectification column of 48 bubble plates (fancy!), James Chase, the founder of Chase Distillery creates his very own Chase Vodka – you can even visit his farm!
After a trip to the US, James Chase decided he too wanted to get involved in the hard seltzer market and create a low calorie sparkling water tin that would be mixed with their Chase Gin: a gin made from scratch with the mission to allow complete traceability of its botanical process.
With very aesthetic and modern packaging, Chase's Gin Seltzers are 89 calories per tin, using natural fruit flavourings including pink grapefruit and pomelo, London dry and lemon, and Seville orange.
Make sure to get a snap on the 'gram!
4. Bodega Bay
Image Credit: Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay have branded its own "a hard seltzer for healthy hedonists", which seems pretty juxtaposed, but you have to admit, is super clever marketing.
Bodega Bay make its hard seltzers sound pretty irresistible: "guilt free alcohol" - is it even possible (although to be honest, we don't like attributing 'guilt' to anything food/drink related at FoodTribe...!)?
Charlie Markland, the founder of Bodega Bay seems pretty convinced he's found the next generation of drinking. After spending most of his life travelling and surfing across the world, Charlie had a chat with a few locals in the waters of Bodega Bay that sparked his idea for a low calorie and guilt free beverage.
Boasting refreshing flavours of cherry, mango and goji berry, elderflower lemon and mint, and apple, ginger and acai, Bodega Bay hard seltzers are 72 calories a tin, mixed with their own CraftedClear alcohol that's derived from fruit.
Pretty swanky stuff!
Image Credit: Berczy
Created from the inspirations of summer evenings with friends and surrounded by likeminded others, Berczy's hard seltzers were founded by three good pals: Nick Graham, Nick Johnson and Matt Richardson.
With the mission to create a natural, low alcohol beverage, the three founders also wanted to push an environmentally-friendly focus on their product. All the packaging for Berczy hard seltzers are recyclable, with 5% of profit going to environmentally-friendly charities like Plastic Oceans. We love to see it!
Berczy hard seltzers come in three flavours; passionfruit and turmeric, lemon and lime and peach and raspberry, the latter winning the Silver Spring Tasting Award 2021.
Tempting, very tempting...
6. Good One
Image credit: Good One
This is one for Gen Z, no question about it. Only six months old, this aesthetic and quirky hard seltzer company has all the design and finesse of a Scandinavian Pinterest board – does it taste as good as it looks though?
Good One use natural raw ingredients for all their hard seltzers. with flavours including lime and cucumber, raspberry, basil and lime, and cloudy grapefruit and thyme, Good One have put a herbal spin on all their staple seltzers and we have to admit, they sounds pretty refreshing!
Good One have recently teamed up with the award winning brewery Mash Gang to create a new exotic flavour of mango, chilli, lime and chamoy plum sauce... and have dubbed it 'Mangonada'. This one of their range is actually non-alcoholic, so even the non-drinkers can get involved.
Image credit: Kopparberg
Popular for its sweet and fruity ciders, it was only a matter of time before the summer-fueled Kopparberg jumped on the hard setlzer band wagon. Kopparberg launched its hard seltzers last May and were one of the first in the UK.
With flavours of passionfruit, black cherry and mixed berries, these brightly coloured seltzers are 93 calories a tin, vegan and gluten-free, and made from all natural flavourings.
Claiming to be subtle and refreshing, Kopparberg fans in need of something lighter may be swayed towards the hard seltzer life with this one!
8. Smirnoff 'Spiked' sparkling seltzers
Image credit: Smirnoff
An oldie, but a goodie. From Smirnoff Ice to a classic Smirnoff and Coke, they're arguably one of the biggest names in drinks and beverages.
So with this in mind, it's no surprise the Smirnoff 'Spiked' seltzers come in 12 different flavours, with other brands sticking to a wholesome three. Like White Claw, Smirnoff had a market for hard seltzers over in the US, and launched in the UK last June.
With 90 calories a tin, Smirnoff have played off the classic cocktail flavour palettes with their pina colada, and taken a step even further with their rosé line, a little nod to all those wine lovers out there who are looking to cut away the vino calories.
Although you can only get your hands on the orange and grapefruit and raspberry and rhubarb flavours in the UK, if the hard seltzers phase sticks around as long as we think it will, it may only be a matter of time before we can get our hands on the full range!