Norway/Singapore: Carlsberg is testing hard seltzers

The two test markets for Carlsberg’s hard seltzers have now been revealed. The Danish brewing group has chosen Norway and Singapore to test two different hard seltzer products. In February first rumors came up that Carlsberg, which is mainly present in Europe and Asia is exploring the potential of this product category in its markets (, 14.2.2020). Hard seltzers are currently very successful in the United States (, 16.11.2019) and many companies reckon that the products will also be a hit in other parts of the world.

Despite the disruption caused by the corona-virus pandemic, Carlsberg has launched in May Garage Hard Seltzer in Norway and Somersby Hard Seltzer in Singapore. Both brands are not new to the market, however, the recipes and the marketing has been changed to test the hard seltzer concept.

Garage is an alcopop that was developed more than eight years ago by Sinebrychoff. The company is one of the largest breweries in Finland und is completely owned by Carlsberg for more than 20 years. Seth & Riley’s Garage Hard Lemonade or S&R Garage for short, was rolled out in 2014 in Canada, Russia, Denmark and the Baltic countries. The product was inspired by the tradition of made-at-home lemonades but aimed at adult drinkers with 4.6% ABV, Carlsberg said at that time.

The new Garage Hard Seltzer which is now tested in Norway has been launched in two flavors, lemon + lemongrass and wild raspberry featuring a ‘refreshing taste of natural fruit flavor’. The product has 4.5% ABV and less than 100 calories in a 330ml can. According to a report by BeverageDaily, “Garage Hard Seltzer is tracking better than Carlsberg’s 12 month plan for the launch”, however, still on a small base. Hard Seltzers account for less than 5% of RTD alcohol in Norway.

Somersby Hard Selzer is based on Somersby Cider, a cider brand originally developed in 2008 by Carlsberg for the Danish market but today present in 47 markets worldwide and available in a dozen flavors. The flavors range from the traditional sparkling apple or pear cider over flavored ciders with watermelon, mango + lime, blackberry, elderflower + lime, blueberry and red rhubarb up to the semi-sweet varieties sparking rosé, sparkling white and sparkling spritz. On top there is the non-alcoholic variety apple 0.0%. According to its own website, Somersby is “the largest international cider brand in the world.”

“Somersby Hard Seltzer is a great opportunity to elevate Somersby and create something more than just a cider, which is what Somersby was always about,” says Stephanie Illgner, Global Marketing Director Brews & Beyond at Carlsberg Group in an interview with BeverageDaily. “The combination of a sure-fire hit with active, easy-going people who do not want stronger spirit-based drinks or very sweet alcopops is a perfect fit for Somersby.”

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