iStill Opportunity: Hard & Spiked Seltzers!


There’s a new trend rising in the bar scenes worldwide. And it’s dripping through to customers and consumers at home at an ever increasing rate. Hard seltzers or spiked seltzers are becoming in big demand. In other words: here is an amazing business opportunity for you to follow up on!

What’s seltzer?

If – like me – you thought a seltzer was a kind of aspirin, think again. A spiked or hard seltzer is a low alcoholic sparkling beverage. Think of a soda with alcohol. But the new trend favors a new kind, a seltzer that’s more like a fizzy fruit water with alcohol. They contain no sugars and have very few calories.

Market opportunities

This is the biggest appeal of spiked seltzers to iStill customers: they are targeted towards a growing market of young people who want to stay healthy and still have a good time. So they go for low-caloric all natural drinks. Even as a mixer this trend is gaining ground. In India and the Middle-East it is now already common practice to order a gin spritzer or gin soda instead of a gin tonic.

Sounds like a niche market? Not according to the latest statistics. The US market is growing rapidly, approaching 2.1 billion dollars in sales this year alone. And the rest of the world is catching on. No wonder big companies like Smirnoff, Budweiser and Coca-Cola are all developing new brands of seltzer at the moment. And that’s where the trouble starts …

Spiked seltzers are basically flavored alcoholic drinks. So they need to be made by the people who understand alcohol and flavor the best: craft distillers. Smirnoff knows nothing about flavor, they make their vodka as neutral as possible. Budweiser and other brewers are great at making beer, but when trying to create the pure alcohol, that is the base ingredient of a seltzer, they are completely at a loss. And Coca-Cola thinks they know a lot about flavor, but do they really? Tried a Coke in different countries? They are not as reproducible and consistent as they claim to be. On top of that they know nothing about alcohol at all.

iStill – seltzers made easy

So it’s an opportunity up our alley to again compete with the big companies in terms of flavor. And iStill customers are in the unique position to create great seltzers. Usually seltzers are made by making pure alcohol (well, we all know how to make vodka or clean up a good GNS, don’t we?), diluting it to 4 or 5% ABV and then add flavors. Of course, we can do this all in one run by using the Extractor. Want to make a ginger seltzer? Just fill up the extractor with a 30% GNS/water mixture and extract fresh ginger. Dilute the extract to 4 or 5% and carbonate for the bubbles. A completely natural product, made in a couple of hours. Better tasting and more healthy than the artificial products made by the big companies!

Need a specific recipe?

Want to go further? At iStill HQ we can help you develop a seltzer recipe. Add a natural sweetener to make it even more attractive, without adding calories. Mix different flavors together. Or use essences from fruits and herbs to get the seltzer completely colorless.

There is a new market opportunity waiting for you to take advantage of, and we are not going to let the amateurs rule it. Need help? Reach out to our Recipe Development Department via!


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