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Hard seltzer craze: Local brewing companies getting in on the trend

Posted at 9:56 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 00:03:26-05

The hard seltzer business has become a $1 billion industry and is poised to surpass $2 billion by the end of 2020 according to industry experts. The growth has local breweries, that would normally be focused on beer, getting in on the hard seltzer craze.

This includes Glendale's Sprecher Brewery which recently released an "old-fashioned" flavored hard seltzer to join its raspberry flavor.

"This is what the customers want if you want to stay in business, you give the customer what you want," says Sprecher Brewery owner Jeff Hamilton.

Hamilton says root beer is still king for his business, but the hard seltzer sector of his business is the fastest growing.

"We're keeping an eye on some of the trends to see if some of the flavors we've developed in non-alcoholic can transport to the alcoholic side," says Hamilton.

Research shows consumers are trending towards healthier drinks and away from filling beers.

"What there is less of in most cases is calories," says Hamilton "If you're worried about calories and particularly calories from sugar, then yes, these are going to be better for you."

The popularity has even spawned a Hard Seltzer Festival in March at Milwaukee's Turner Hall. "All Fizzed Up" will feature more than 20 different hard seltzer vendors for tasting.

The Pabst Group, which runs Turner Hall and other venues, says hard seltzer has become one of the most popular drinks they sell.

Sara Peronto of Pabst says people are excited about the drink.

"Because they are becoming hard seltzer enthusiasts just like there [are] beer enthusiasts and connoisseurs," says Peronto. "I mean people are starting to do that with hard seltzer with the variety of flavors."