Hard seltzer

The next few months will show whether it will be accepted by the Spanish market, but this foreign interloper could have one adverse effect: it may hit wine sales

ANDREW J. LINN

There are beer drinkers, wine drinkers and spirits drinkers, and that seems to satisfy almost everyone except teetotallers. But lifelong imbibers of conventional alcoholic products tend to be getting on in years, while the younger set is always looking for something new.

Unfortunately, wine doesn't seem to ring their bells and there is only so much beer a person can put down at a sitting, so the ideal solution is to invent a new social drink. Perhaps hard seltzer really is the answer to a maiden's prayer, so to speak.

Developed in the USA, it is a type of alcopops aimed at delivering the pleasant effects of booze in an unpretentious and innocuous manner.

The next few months will show whether it will be accepted by the Spanish market, but this foreign interloper could have one adverse effect: it may hit wine sales. Just as the decades-long drop in domestic wine consumption was bottoming out, along comes this product consisting of fizzy water, fruit flavouring and alcohol.

Although 'low calorie, slightly alcoholic and gluten free', US regulators had to warn manufacturers not to promote it as a health drink. The taste is forgettable – reminiscent of vodka and soda – so definitely not something to accompany food.

Sales double every year in the USA, and it has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, but is there really any difference between drinking a vodka and orange and an orange flavoured hard seltzer? Nevertheless, there has been stolid resistance by Spanish wineries to selling wine in cans, but these new products, only available as such, are gaining increasing acceptance among young people.