Food & Drinks

“Drinks and the day after just back to the gym”

You can no longer ignore the hard seltzer. In the US, it already accounted for $ 1.2 billion in sales last year and competes fiercely with beer. You see the cans in MTV series pass by, they become gemed on the internet and challenged on TikTok and the low-calorie drink suits this day full of mindful drinkers.

For top athletes to models and forwards, even ordinary people. With an emphasis on “human”, because it is also a very gender-neutral drink. More and more brands are also entering the market in the Netherlands and many students, among others, are discovering the sparkling drink. Yes, the hard seltzers are going hard.

In a drink cap

Hard seltzer is sparkling water, a little alcohol (5%, often vodka) and a (fruit) flavor and usually contains less than 30 calories per 100 ml, less than beer, wine and prosecco. In America it is an outright hit and also in the Netherlands it has great hit potential, predicts beverage expert Ingmar Voerman. Although he does not necessarily think it is “a very cool development.” And that is mainly due to the flavors that are not very exciting for the connoisseur.

According to him it is therefore important not to compare it with an IPA or a cocktail. “It will not have that flavor intensity. The alcohol is so low that you cannot taste it and then the question immediately arises: why would you drink it? ” Voerman is therefore someone who loves distinctive flavors and not only drinks it, but also judges it as a member of the jury in various cocktail competitions. He is known on social media as “Ingmar drinks”.

Millennials

By the way, he doesn’t want to be negative about the drink at all, he almost apologizes, “there are certainly interesting flavors, and besides that, I’m not the target group.” Because he is “already 38” and the hard seltzer generation is a bit younger, “it is more the millennials and generation Z, the so-called mindful drinkers. People who want to have a drink, but also want to be fit again the day after. ”

Festival drink

Even though Voerman would not quickly open a can for dinner – or during a normal pub evening, where he would rather drink an IJwitje or Negroni – he does see the added value of the product on the beverage market. “When it is very hot and you need something fresh, a hard seltzer is a good choice. You do not immediately fall off your stool and compared to a beer it is less heavy on the stomach. But it will never be a real flavor bomb. ” The fact that the festival season has fallen in corona has had an impact on the market, he estimates. “If there had been parties outside everywhere, it would have gone even faster this summer, I fully believe in that.”

Seltzer vs beer

Or do beer breweries feel the hot hard seltzer breath on their necks? Oh sure, he exclaims. In that respect it is keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer. “Breweries will also market it themselves.” For example, the world’s largest brewery AB inBev stepped in in 2016 and Heineken announced yesterday that they will also “brew” the drink.

In addition, Coca Cola is the first soft drink brand to get into the alcoholic drink, de alcohol connoisseur. Voerman sees the hard seltzers a bit as “the new gold”. “Things are also going fast in the Netherlands. From gin brand to start-up and large beverage companies, everyone is going to get involved. I think it is very interesting to see what is happening in the market now. It fascinates me. ”

Beat / hit

Will the hard seltzers eventually beat the beer? No, the drinks man doesn’t believe that. “We are a real beer country, it really doesn’t matter. And I hope not, we just reinvented beer with all craft beers. But it will catch on, because it fits in this time of awareness. And it is vibrant, people like that. ” Whether it will change the market forever, he does not dare to say, and he concludes with a mysterious smile. “Time will tell…”

The new drinking

Drink tastes differ, as you can see if you spend an hour with the boys from GiG talk about their hard seltzer. “It’s only good that there is no flavor explosion in your mouth, that’s the whole point of hard seltzer. The predominant taste of alcohol does not play the leading role, this is a fresh drink that fits into the generation of new drinking. ”

To enjoy

Brothers Bob and Max Ponsen talk full of bravado, which suits two enthusiastic and ambitious people in their twenties, about their hard seltzer with the name GiG. Incidentally, it does not stand for Gezelligheid in Glass, because you drink from a can, and not for Groots in Genieten, although that is what their brand is all about. “It’s about what you are GiGmoment is, and that is possible anywhere. ” But preferably with a group of friends, as it also tastes great on your own, and a little sun is also nice. In that respect it is certainly a pity that the festivals did not take place, they agree, “but we have also made a great start without it.”

Photo of Bob and Max Ponsen
Ponsen brothers. Bob and Max, both three letter names, just like their GiG.

They are on the shelves at many liquor stores, at supermarket Dirk van den Broek in two weeks and the wholesalers also know where to find them, and vice versa. “That is certainly another sweet sugar drink that I am not allowed because of my sugar”, Max was recently thrown at his head in the Sligro by a customer with diabetes and prejudices, when he stood there to promote their product. . Well no, said Max then, after which the boy looked up happily. “He immediately took a step with him.”

Competitor beer

Just like the big brands in the US, such as White Claw, they also see the hard seltzer as a competitor to beer, also in terms of pricing. When asked whether hard seltzer will beat the beer, they are certain. “Yes!”, With the US as an example and forerunner in mind. “My friends there, for example, emptied their entire office refrigerator and replaced all the beer cans, including wine bottles, with hard seltzer.” And when they go to chill there in the park, they now no longer take a 24-pack of beer with them, “after all, everything is bigger in America”, but guess three times, (…).

Gender neutral

Because unlike most other drinks, there is no tendency towards a typically male or female thing. Hard seltzer is actually a very gender-neutral drink, they agree. “Everyone likes it when you come up with that.” The great success of the hard seltzer is partly due to the current zeitgeist, they also acknowledge. “Young people, in particular, want to live healthier lives, the hard seltzer fits into that lifestyle. Drink and enjoy, but just be back in the gym the next day. ”

How it all started

Max (24) has already had a whole top sports career. He rowed World Cups and left for Boston to play sports and study. It was there where he experienced his first hard seltzer in one of the halls of residence – the home of the wrestling team to be precise. He became an instant fan, just like his brother Bob who came to visit him that year. The people of it dormparty will not soon forget Ponsensjes. “I think we drank their entire refrigerator …”

Back in the Netherlands, the hard seltzer got where it needed to go and they got to work. A well-lashed machine, Bro’s Max and Bob. One likes to dig through research and make Excel ‘little things (Max), the other more to marketing, but they share the same mindset:’ accelerate ‘, and then they also have an investor who is thirty years older than them , “But is just as wildly enthusiastic and young at heart and calls us up to ten times a day with new ideas. And he also does helicopter skiing… I’m just saying. ”

Strengthening

photo of hard seltzers
Hard seltzers come in all shapes and sizes. Photo via seltzerijustmether

They do not necessarily see that more and more hard seltzers are popping up in the drink image as competition. Rather as a reinforcement of brand awareness. And besides that, the drink comes in all types, flavors and sizes. Without sugar, with fruit flavors, with residual sugar. Lime, raspberry, mango, ginger (and everything in between) and in 330 ml (the same as a beer can) and 250 ml (Red Bull size).

They do it on their own GiGAnd that is with residual sugar in a 330 ml can, and the choice for this was not a wet finger job of the boys. After several tastings in which she had a top athlete to someone who follows a diet and ‘ordinary people’, almost all hard seltzers that already existed in the world, have tasted and presented statements such as’ whether or not sugar must be the can ‘.

And with all that input and after many test rounds, they came to their end product. In a 330 milliliter can, “otherwise you really have it within three gulps, we heard the criticism of the small can.” In the flavors Grapefruit Melody, Lime Rhythm and Berry Beat, with half a gram of residual sugar. Very deliberately chosen. “Without sugar it tastes like that sugar-free Karvan Cevitam that you really don’t want to keep drinking. Of course it just has to be tasty. ”

TikTok

@textordrink

Who’s brave enough? 😂 #TextOrDrink #cards #pregame #whiteclaw

♬ Crisis – Jasiah

That hard seltzer suits the new generation better than beer is also evident when you walk past the beer shelves in the supermarket, according to Max. “Then you see all kinds of dark medieval castles and monks and stuff, apart from the bottles of IPA.” High time for innovation, something that TikTokkers also noticed. “I think young people want to show that they are part of the new more conscious generation, by also drinking modern drinks.”

It is not the case that hard seltzers are only for “young people from the brutal, rebellious generation”, they would like to emphasize. “Everyone is young at heart, and is looking forward to something new.”

Also read: people reveal with photos how they actually look during video calling

Flat lager

Drinking flat lager, as they call it, could just decrease considerably soon. For example, their orders at student associations are going like crazy. They understand. Not only is there the less heavy feeling on the stomach, but “the line” is also a thing. “A lot of boys and girls are in tip-top shape shape in their new student city, where they go full on beer and after a year are almost impossible to recognize! ” Yes, he is exaggerating a bit, Bob admits with a laugh, “but with hard seltzer that is definitely not going to happen to you.”

Did you know that 60 percent of Americans drink a hard seltzer at least once a week? ” they finally throw in another fact. Much, but that can be much higher in our country, they grin full of ambition. “The Dutch people are much healthier and we have more densely populated areas.” Drinking is a good example, according to them, to add with a big wink: “Hard seltzer will soon spread even faster than corona.”

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Major beer competitor hard seltzer: “Drinks and the day after just back to the gym”

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