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The rise of hard seltzers is one of the big trends in the US on-trade market – and suppliers now have the UK pub, bar and restaurant market in their sights.

As highlighted by CGA a couple of weeks ago (see Hard seltzer: the next big thing from the USA?), hard seltzers, a light refreshing mix of fizzy water, alcohol and flavouring, generated $1.2bn in sales in the US on-premise market during 2019—with 462% dollar sales growth, while volume sales increased by the equivalent of 182 million 12oz cans.

Some leading brands are already in the UK market and others have plans for a post-lockdown launch this summer. CGA’s new Cracking open hard seltzers report looks at the chances of success and provides an understanding of what it will take to recruit these consumers.

“The key question for many is whether British consumers will engage in the same way. Initial signs are positive for the category, with 13.7 million consumers open to the idea of trying hard seltzers in the future,” said CGA's Client Director for Drinks, Philip Montgomery.

“The category also seems to strike a chord with a consumer who is increasingly health-conscious and has a promiscuous nature in terms of their drinks choice. The key element for entrenching hard seltzer brands will be how to ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’ in an on-trade that has a raft of choices for the consumer,” added Montgomery.

“Understanding the consumption preferences of potential consumers is going to be paramount in these first steps of seeding these brands. CGA research shows that the prospective hard seltzer consumer is already more likely to consume spirits, cocktails and cider than the average consumer, so positioning these brands among that cohort is going to be key for long term success. Hard seltzers have the potential to shake up an already pretty turbulent on-trade this summer.”

Cracking open hard seltzers: Unlocking opportunity in GB on-trade is now available to purchase, learn more here or contact phillip.montgomery@cga.co.uk.


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