Halfway between sparkling water and beer, the hard seltzers conquer France

Who in France knew about hard seltzer a year ago? Almost no one since it was not yet present on the market. One year later, at the end of the first half of 2021, the cans trendy alcoholic seltzer water have already taken 10% of the beer segment (source Nielsen). Based on water, cane sugar, natural flavors and yeast, this drink is brewed like a beer. Between sparkling water, for which it has a crystalline appearance and effervescence, and beer, for which it has an alcohol content (between 4.5 ° and 5 °), the hard seltzer has convincing arguments: low in calories, little or no sugar. Sold in arty cans, often eco-responsible, it is aesthetic and easy to consume.

Born in the United States in 2013, the hard seltzer trend corresponds to estimated sales (source Nielsen) at 2.7 billion dollars over the last twelve months. With 65 brands, the American market augurs well for a real revolution. If only between March and April, the turnover of this segment has more than doubled. In France, it was the arrival of Snowmelt, in August 2020 (despite the health crisis), which turned everything upside down.

Young adults targeted

A pioneer, this fermented and alcoholic sparkling water has established itself as an obvious source of freshness for the summer. The American brand has been strong: by playing on the know-how of beer, it exported the image of an eloquent place of origin. Made from pure Rocky Mountain water, it is made by Upslope Brewery, 1,624 meters above sea level, in Boulder, Colorado. Your choice of aromas evoke healthy food: lime and juniper, tangerine and hops, pomegranate and acai. We are between drink and perfume, between fashion and diet.

Logically, the drinks department was enriched in spring 2021 with new brands. Coca-Cola Company intends to take the train en route with Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, its sparkling water with alcohol (“Alcoholic sparkling water”), which has just arrived in France. The brand does not hide its objective of becoming a leader in this category from its first year in the country, like the dazzling success across the Atlantic. The public mainly concerns young adults who are looking for low alcoholic drinks, with new proposals and original flavors, such as the marriage of cherry and acai berry (palm fruit).

An announced battle

Faced with this tidal wave, French producers are trying not to be outdone. “The arrival of hard seltzers is a colossal revolution, notes Romain Le Mouëllic, 36-year-old entrepreneur, behind the creation of FEFE (“Fait En FrancE”), the first French hard seltzer. Up to 80 hard seltzer brands are expected to hit the market by the end of 2021, compared to 25 today.. »

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