If there is one category that is showing a rapid growth in the alco-bev sector, it is hard seltzers. Who would not want to get buzzed, in the Indian summer, with a chilled can of alcohol, which is low on calories and high on flavour and freshness? The alcoholic carbonated water-based drink that swept over the US sometime in 2016, has made in-roads in the Indian market with around multiple brands competing for consumer attention. According to Statista, the market for hard seltzer is expected to show a volume growth of 62.3 per cent in 2024.
So, what is hard seltzer and why is it making such a buzz, especially with the youth? Essentially, hard seltzers are carbonated water with alcohol and some flavours. Not only are they a refreshing alternative to beers and aerated drinks, but they are also low on calories, low on alcohol content – it usually varies between four to eight per cent – and are gluten-free and vegan as well, making them a great choice for health-conscious consumers.
One of the newest entrants in the category is Spyk hard seltzer which was launched early this year. Vimal Chand, CEO and co-founder of the company says, “With more than 50 per cent of India’s population being under 35, we saw the immense potential for a truly millennial product. We’ve created a drink that’s for everyone, for every occasion, a drink that adapts itself to you, whether you’re someone who lives to drink or someone who only enjoys the occasional sip. Simply put, we make sure that an exciting night on the town isn’t followed by a regretful morning after.” The immense scope for its growth compelled Ruchi Gupta and Gaurav Sharma to come up with Raya hard seltzers in 2021. “India stands third with respect to the entire seltzer segment around the world and is progressing day by day,” Gupta informs us.
With easy drinking being the keyword, and the hot summers calling for something refreshing without leaving us feeling guilty, hard seltzers, indeed, seem to be the way to go (or to drink)!
Here are seven hard seltzer brands you can try in India:
Created by keeping quality, artistry, design and sustainability into account, Pursue was launched in 2021 by CEO and Founder Anish Reddy to “promote personal freedom, reshape conventions around alcoholic beverages and create a sparkling indulgence for everyone”. Available in four exciting variants – Peach and White Tea, Strawberry and Rose, Mango and Chilli, Mosambi and Mint – Pursue is currently available in Goa, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur and is adding Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Telangana to the list.
Currently available in Goa and Bengaluru, this brand was formed on the notion that when it comes to IST, ‘anytime is a good time’. The founders Krupa Shah and Kunal Shah have come up with two variants – Spiked Lemonade with Chardonnay and Spiked Grapefruit, backed with hints of pomegranate, which have an ABV of five per cent and are gluten-free as well. With only 2 grams of sugar and 99 calories, you can be sure you will not be compromising your health as well. IST promises to leave you buzzed and not have you nursing a hangover the next day.
Touted to be India’s first freshly brewed hard seltzer, Spyk launched in Bengaluru earlier in 2023 with the intent of providing a drink made from the finest quality ingredients and carefully crafted to deliver a refreshing, flavourful drinking experience that is both light and satisfying. With an ABV of 5.5 per cent and zero added sugar, these refreshing and guilt-free beverages are available in four variants namely Lime, Orange, Mixed Berry and Original. The brand will be taking its operations to Maharashtra, Goa and Hyderabad as well.
4. Wild Drum
With two different strengths of 4.75 per cent ABV and eight per cent ABV, Wild Drum comes in four variants – Peach, Mango, Pure and Lemon-Mint. This fizzy refreshing drink has formed quite a loyal fan base, especially because it gives consumers the option of a variety of flavours and different alcohol strengths. While the lighter variant is great for boozy summer brunches, the stronger one works best when you want to chill the night away. The vegan and low-cal drink is currently available in Mumbai, Goa, Indore and Bhopal.
The name finds its inspiration in the founders’ favourite character from the American sitcom, How I Met Your Mother – Barney! Ruchi Gupta and Gaurav Sharma came across hard seltzers while vacationing in Thailand and realising the gap in the Indian market, launched Barneys in January 2021. “We wanted to ensure that we enter a segment which is a game-changer in the alco-bev industry,” says Gupta. Available in Apple and Rose, Strawberry and Blueberry, and Lemongrass and Grapefruit variants, the low-calorie beverage is high on flavour and delivers the right buzz. It is available in Goa, Chandigarh, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pondicherry.
Launched in July 2022, Raya is Goa’s first craft seltzer and is available in three flavours – Citrus Spice with star anise, citrus fruits and spices, the summery fresh Pineapple Ginger and a fruity and minty Pomegranate Mint. Available in some of the most popular restaurants including Pisco by the Beach, Tereza Beach House, Beno, Fisherman’s Wharf, Mamagoto and popular liquor and retail outlets across north and south Goa, Raya wants to expand to Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka with some interesting developments in the pipeline.
With its focus on natural ingredients, low-calorie content, and gluten-free formula, Typo Hard Seltzer wants to redefine the way this category is looked at in the beverage market. Available in four refreshing flavours – Berry Berry, Orange, Ginger Ale and Lemonade, the drinks also come in two strength variants of 4.8 per cent and 8 per cent ABV. At present, Typo has made its presence felt in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Goa but Santosh Reddy, the founder and CEO of Lemonwedge Ventures, plans to raise funding and expand to other states in the country along with new variants.