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Hard seltzers

Refreshing drinks for those who embrace a less is more lifestyle

A low-carb alternative to other alcoholic beverages, with a calorie content of less than 100 per can, hard seltzers are refreshing, tasty and convenient. Part of an increasingly accepting gender-neutral lifestyle, they’re the perfect drink for summertime leisure and vacation indulgence.

Capturing headlines and reaching record-breaking sales in 2019, hard seltzer, also known as spiked seltzer or hard sparkling water, is an alcoholic drink containing carbonated water, alcohol and flavorings.

To meet the requirements of a malt-based beverage, the alcohol used in a hard seltzer must be derived from a pure fermentation process with no subsequent distillation. Using alcohol produced by distillation or rectification does not fall within the category and are therefore taxed at a much higher rate.     

As a seltzer base must be free from flavor, aroma and color, GEA membrane technology is ideally suited to remove these elements to create a suitable end-product. Many types of carbohydrates and sugars can be used as a basis for this process, including liquid sugars, wort from malt as well as other gluten-free raw materials.

The low-carb alternative

Hard seltzers have an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of approximately 5%. Classified as a low-carb beverage, their caloric value is significantly lower than other carbonated soft drinks in the market (usually 100 calories or less).

Spanning almost every demographic, hard seltzers provide a ready-to-drink, on-the-go option for consumers of mixed drinks. Capitalizing on the low-calorie and ultra-light beer trends, hard seltzers appeal almost equally to men and women of various ages as a gender-neutral lifestyle beverage.

Compatible with existing plant

Many existing breweries are fully capable of producing hard seltzers with only minor modifications and a few new GEA process units (such as membrane filtration). With additional modifications and new processing units, production efficiency can be increased and, ultimately, a tailor-made plant can be supplied with maximum operational efficiency to produce the highest quality product. Existing equipment can be used to produce a neutral malt base. However, additional technologies may be required to remove color and flavors. This can be accomplished with GEA filtration technology using spiral polymeric membranes. 

Other recommended GEA technologies include: deaerated water production with VARIDOX, mixing and in-line blending with DIMIX/DICON for water and flavor additions, DICAR for carbonation and ECO-FLASH® for the pasteurization of the final product.  Also recommended, are WORTSTAR® and GEA liquid jet mixing technology to achieve more efficient and consistent fermentations for producing a seltzer base.

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