Hard sodas and hard seltzers are commonly categorized as flavored malt beverages even though many are produced using a fermented sugar, not derived from malt. Both segments are gaining popularity across demographics for various reasons.
The beginning of the hard soda trend is often attributed to Not Your Father’s Root Beer, which became the best-selling craft beverage in the United States in 2015. New producers and flavor extensions have appeared.
When properly positioned, and marketed, hard sodas can serve to broaden a brand’s customer base and provide versatility to on-premise accounts.
In contrast to the high-calorie indulgence factor presented by hard soda, hard seltzers appeal to the more health-conscious consumer. Seltzer drinkers are often driven by packaging, nutritional facts, and product quality. Claims of gluten-free, non-GMO, and organic, typically bring value in this market.