Where were you when the great hard seltzer brand invasion took hold? That’s the question we’ll all be asking ourselves in years to come when we’re knee-deep into carbonated watermelon juice and empty cans. But if you aren’t yet acquainted with the delicious, refreshing alcoholic fizzer, you’re in for a treat. This Summer is shaping up to be the biggest in bubbly beverage history, with a host of the best hard seltzer brands making their way down under for the first time. Whether it’s a White Claw or Press Spiked Seltzer, the options are endless, but you can bet this holiday period, we’re going to be making a dent in the list.
What is Hard Seltzer?
First thing’s first; what is hard seltzer? Well, for our US friends, the alcoholic beverage is somewhat of a mainstay. Sales of the sparkling, flavoured drink have now exceeded USD$1 billion annually, with that figure expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. It’s a massive market that Aussie brands are keen to break into, rolling out their own versions of the drink, ready for a massive first Aussie Summer.
But hard seltzer isn’t just another low-quality pre-mixed vodka. In fact, seltzer is almost its own thing. Put simply, there are two main ways to brew the highball-style sparkling beverage, from a simple spiked-water method to a more immersive fermentation approach. In this method, brands may employ a type of rice-fermentation, which means the alcohol is naturally occurring as opposed to just adding vodka at the end. From there, it can be infused with real lime or passionfruit, eliminating the need for sugary mixers.
This, in turn, gives hard seltzer a more calorie-friendly finish, as opposed to carb-heavy beer or sugary ready-to-drink pre-mixed cans. In fact, most hard seltzers will contain only around 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce can, making them better for you in terms of macronutrients. According to reports, fifth-generation brewer Nick Shields invented the beverage style with Spiked Seltzer, in Westport, Connecticut, and brewed the first commercial batches in November, 2013. Now, the big American beverage is coming down under.
Best Hard Seltzer Brands in Australia
With the explosion in popularity for hard seltzer brands, Australia has been clambering to get their top picks out. Some US brands are making their way here, while other domestic options are popping up regularly. To help you make sense of the situation, we put together our top picks, from at home and abroad.
Here is a list of the 20 best hard seltzer brands you can buy in Australia.
1. Good Tides
With no sugar, no artificial sweeteners and only 85 calories per can, you can’t really go wrong with a Good Tides hard seltzer. The Asahi-backed brand has a host of sweet flavours like Lemon & Lime and Raspberry to get you geared up for summer. Unlike some other hard seltzer brands, Good Tides contains a premium triple-distilled vodka, giving it more of a spiked seltzer finish. It’s a bit more like your standard Vodka, Lime & Soda cocktail, but that’s not always a bad thing.
Flavours: Lemon & Lime, Raspberry
Calories per can (ave): 85
One of the Aussie local brews that is taking the country by storm, FELLR has a decidedly more refreshing approach, thanks to the inclusion of fresh limes and ginger. The brewed sparkling water is light and delicious, with a focus on natural citrus flavours. Subtly sweet, this one is worth adding to your drinks list this year, you won’t regret getting to know this FELLR.
Flavours: Dry & Lime, Lime & Soda
Calories per can (ave): 83
3. Lust Liquor
Born on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Lust Liquor is about as Aussie as it gets. Even better, the brand has managed to craft a pretty solid assortment of low-sugar, low-carb and low-calorie hard seltzers. Our pick is the zesty Lime & Soda, which offers less than one gram of carbs and zero sugar. Get amongst it.
Flavours: Lime & Soda, Wodka and Raspberry, Vodka Lemon, Lime & Bitters
Calories per can (ave): 88
4. White Claw
Perhaps the most famous hard seltzer brand on the market, White Claw has catapulted itself into the popular vernacular. Best personified by frat boys and VSCO girls, the campus favourite recently announced it was making a triumphant journey down under. While you can’t purchase White Claw in Australia just yet, you can expect to score to a couple of cans of the fruity sparkling beverage before Summer kicks off this year.
Flavours: Ruby Grapefruit, Mango and Natural Lime
Calories per can (ave): 95
If you are keen to get buck-wild this Summer, Rainbird might be the option for you. The Aussie hard seltzer brand offers an 8% ABV can which is more enough to loosen you up. Even better, the Lemon & Lime and Natural options have less than 1 per cent sugar and 135 calories per can. These alcoholic sparkling waters are the ideal accompaniment for a couple of snags and solid day in the pool.
Flavours: Natural, Lemon & Lime
ABV: 6%, 8%
Calories per can (ave): 135
One of the best hard seltzer brands for the more upmarket drinker, Quincy offers a more refined take on the alcoholic sparkling beverage. Using rice-fermentation over the spiked seltzer method, Quincy has a dry, crisp taste that is refreshing and smooth. One of the best hard seltzer brands Australia has produced.
Flavours: Lime, Passionfruit
Juicy watermelon hard seltzers are on the menu thanks to Ray. These ultra-refreshing cans are simple in design and simple in nature, but that’s a good thing. Naturally brewed to create a smoother taste, Ray is bursting with real fruit flavour and no added sugar.
Flavours: Watermelon & Mint, Lemon & Lime,
Calories per can (ave):
Another Aussie hard seltzer brand that is offering up the strong stuff, Saintly has some interesting flavours. From ‘Forbidden Pink Grapefruit’ to ‘Blessed Lime’, you can score some of the most interesting brews we’ve seen with Saintly. Even better, they’re just 89 calories per can. Too easy.
Flavours: Forbidden Pink Grapefruit, Blessed Lime, Hail Mango
Calories per can (ave): 89
9. Liberty Coast
At just 63 calories per can, Liberty might isn’t just one of the best hard seltzer brands Australia has to offer, it’s also one of the healthiest (not that drinking is particularly great for you). The all-natural beverage is light and refreshing, working perfectly with a touch of lime and a glass of ice. If you are keen to dip your toes in the hard seltzer market, Liberty Coast is a nice, easy way to get the ball rolling.
Flavours: Raspberry, Lime
Calories per can (ave): 63
We know Smirnoff for its line of moderately priced vodka, so diving into the world of hard seltzers isn’t really a far stretch for the Russian icon. Kicking off with three releases, passionfruit, lime and raspberry, Smirnoff offers us a pretty stock-standard seltzer. Familiar in name, this release is worth adding to your cart if aren’t quite sure if you trust the new players.
Flavours: Passionfruit, Classic Lime, Raspberry Rose
Calories per can (ave): 70
The nation’s largest brewing company, Carlton & United Breweries has added one of the best hard seltzer brands Australia has seen with Actual. With just 69 calories per can and 0.3 grams of sugar, this one is pretty much as straightforward as it gets. Crack into one of these if you are keen to get the party started.
Flavours: Natural, Lime
Calories per can (ave): 69
12. Tidal Artesian Seltzer
For the drinking aficionados, Tidal Artesian Seltzer has a touch of class that many of the hard seltzer brands Australia has seen simply don’t. Crafted using a mix of Artesian water, malted barley, cane sugar, yeast and natural fruit flavouring, Tidal is about as fancy as canned liquor gets. We highly recommend the Yuzu Citrus flavour.
Flavours: Lime, Yuzu Citrus
Calories per can (ave): 85
A little more fruity than some of the others on this list of the best hard seltzer brands Australia has to offer, Sips is a nice addition. With zero carbs, zero sugar and only 66 calories per serving, you’d be forgiven for wondering what is in the can. Turns out, it’s nothing but crisp, sparkling water and triple distilled vodka, pumping out a refreshing mix of native botanicals. If you are looking for a spiked seltzer brand to get you up and moving, try Sips.
Flavours: Blood Orange, Pink Grapefruit, Raspberry
Calories per can (ave): 66
Crafted with a delicious and distinct flavour, you simply can’t go past Delvi. While a little lighter and less intense finish, the Blood Orange can is a worth a mention this Summer.
Flavours: Blood Orange Passion, Desert Lime
15. Lost Palms Brewing Co
Lost Palms has made a name for itself with some pretty crafty brews and the foray into hard seltzers is more than worthy of the name. The light and refreshing spiked seltzer is sweet and playful, like all good weekends should be.
Flavoursome yet subtle, Sunly has a few quality releases to its name. We’re a big fan of the Ginger & Lemon cans, which are smooth and refreshing, ideal for a big summer.
Flavours: Ginger & Lemon, Davidson Plum & Berry, Blood Orange & Grapefruit
This first in our list of best hard seltzer brands Australia wide to hail from New Zealand, Hint is a true Trans-Tasman triumph. This delicious triple-distilled vodka drink has all the elements of a great cocktail without the elitism. Brewed with water sourced from the Bay of Plenty and blended with either a hint of watermelon or citrus, it’s no wonder Hint is one of the best seltzer brands we’ve come across.
Country: New Zealand
Flavours: Watermelon, Citrus
A modern Aussie twist on the classic Italian cocktail, SOFI Spritz is less like a hard seltzer brand and more like a canned sparkling RTD. The cans are crafted with Australian white wine using natural ingredients and no added sugar, so you can afford to have a couple.
A little different than most hard seltzer brands Australia has to offer, Vacay is the first to be crafted by an award-winning sommelier. Copping reduced sugar, low calories and carbs, Vacay is pretty good for you and very good for others. Ten per cent of all profits are donated to Cure Cancer.
Flavours: Pure, Raspberry, Lime, Pure and Kakadu Plum
Calories per can (ave): 62
20. 5PM Bevs
One of the youngest Aussie seltzer brands on the market, 5PM Bevs are a new take on the fruity fizzer, With each can just 98 calories, 0 grams of sugar and 0 grams of carbs, the hard seltzer is definitely a healthier alternative to beer or cider and delicious to boot. With a complex flavour profile and some of the sexiest packaging we seen, it’s worth adding this to your list; after all, it’s 5PM somewhere.
Flavours: Grapefruit, Watermelon, Berry Pomegranate
Calories per can (ave): 98
Best Hard Seltzer Brands in the US
1. Press Seltzer
One of the biggest hard seltzer brands in the US, Press Seltzer has a bunch of great options, but be warned, they come with a kick. Our favourite is the Blood Orange Chilli flavour, that offers a little bite, in more ways than one.
Calories per can (ave): 110
2. Arctic Summer
From delicious additions like candied pineapple to more natural finishes, Arctic Summer has pretty much all bases covered this seltzer season. If fruity flavours are your go-to, we recommend getting amongst this hard seltzer brand.
Calories per can (ave): 110
3. Bud Light Seltzer
Believe it or not, Bud Light’s forway into making alcoholic sparkling water was one of its most fruitful. The brand has captured a massive market, thanks to its collection of easy-drinking citrus seltzers. If there is one thing to learn here it’s that you really can teach an old dog new tricks.
Calories per can (ave): 100
4. DC Brau
Craft beer goes fruity in a new way. With DC Brau you get the best of both worlds; a delicious canned beverage and a name that is hard to say after a few too many drinks.
Calories per can (ave): 100
5. Two Robbers
With a delicious collection of brewed beverages to get you through the warmer weather, Two Robbers has you sorted. Even better, this brewery has dropped some of the best hard seltzer options we’ve seen, most notably with the Pineapple with Ginger Craft seltzer. Just delightful.
Calories per can (ave): 110
6. Truly Hard Seltzer
One of the biggest names in the business, Truly Hard Seltzer has all the aspects you’d expect from a solid can of booze. Best served cold and on some kind of aquatic vehicle, Truly is one must-drink for those who enjoy a truly good time.
Calories per can (ave): 100
7. Social Club
A little heavier and packed full of flavour, Social Club has no qualms in turning your quiet night in into a rager. The zesty citrus kick will get the party started, the rest is up to you.
Calories per can (ave): 150
8. Corona Hard Seltzer
Forget what you know about Corona, the beer brand is taking on a new challenge. The Corona Hard Seltzer experiment has been a massive win for the Mexican brand and it’s not hard to see why. Delicious flavours, solid cans and a good crushability score make for a winning combination.
Calories per can (ave): 90
What kind of alcohol is hard Seltzer?
Most hard seltzers' main alcoholic ingredient is vodka, however, in some hard seltzer brands, the alcohol comes from fermented cane sugar, which is made in a similar process to beer, except flavours and carbonation are added.
Is hard Seltzer better for you than beer?
From a nutrition standpoint, spiked seltzers do tend to have fewer calories and carbohydrates compared to most beers and mixed drinks. As a general rule, most hard seltzers will contain only around 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates per 12 ounce can, making them better for you in terms of macronutrients.
Can you buy White Claw seltzer in Australia?
At the moment, White Claw seltzers have yet to be launched in Australia, however, the brand has previously announced that the product is arriving before Summer 2020.