Europe: Carlsberg to launch hard seltzer in 2020

Carlsberg is likely to launch this year a hard seltzer in one or two test markets in Europe. Hard seltzers, which are booming in the United States but still are relatively unknown in Europe and other parts of the world, are low-alcohol, low-calorie water-based drinks that are made of carbonated water, alcohol, and often fruit flavoring. The alcohol comes either from wine, spirits or fermented malt or sugar.

People close to the industry speculate that Carlsberg could start with a test launch of its hard seltzer in the UK because the Danish brewer has a strong presence in this market and a phalanx of smaller brands like Balans Aqua Spritz, Bodega Bay or DRTY have the country in their crosshairs.

“The main challenge is that the hard seltzer category and concepts is still relatively unknown outside the U.S.,” says Stephanie Illgner, Global Marketing Director Brews & Beyond at Carlsberg Group in an interview with BeverageDaily.

The category has been popularized in the US by the White Claw brand by Mark Anthony Brands, which was introduced in 2016 and is sold in six different fruit flavors. After the brand was permanently sold out last summer, the company announced to build new plants within the next year (, 14.1.2020). White Claw expects to hit sales of USD 1.5 billion this year.

The success of White Claw has in the meantime attracted all of the major brewing groups, which have announced or already launched their respective hard seltzer line. AB InBev is in the race with Bud Light Hard Seltzer (, 16.11.2019) and Bon & Viv, Molson Coors with Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water and Vizzy, Constellation Brands with Corona Hard Seltzer and Boston Beer Company with Truly Hard Seltzer.

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