If a soft drink exists, there’s likely an alcoholic version of it

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Rule 34 of the internet: If it exists, there is porn of it, has been applied to the beverage industry.Lately, we’ve seen an increase in alcoholic versions of non-alcoholic beverages such as hard kombucha, cola, ginger beer, lemonade, and fruit juice, to name a few.

A few years ago, hard seltzers emerged from the US, with European breweries joining in and large brands attempting to establish themselves. We spoke with brewers back then about this trend and firmly believed it would fail in Europe for two main reasons: it doesn’t appeal to European taste buds and people don’t prioritize low-calorie drinks when they want to indulge.It is evident that hard seltzers have failed in the French market, with only 2.57 million in sales in 2021. Even the best product manager couldn’t make those figures look impressive. A quick glance at Carrefour’s webshop clearly shows retailers’ faith in the category: they offer just 4 SKUs!

So what about the newcomers? Can hard iced tea make a difference in the market?We should give them a chance: it might be more suited to European tastes, the name carries more meaning here and recognizable brands are behind it.With proper branding, decent taste, and support from retailers, some of these drinks may succeed in the market. However, I wager (a quality beverage) that they’ll never be as popular here as they are in the US. This is good news for independent breweries and beverage producers here since big brands will dominate most of the market.

My perspective? Brewers should continue creating delicious drinks, educating customers, and promoting craftsmanship. In doing so, we can withstand another wave of canned subpar alcohol. Hopefully.

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