Hard Seltzer is the new beverage star rising
There is no doubt that one of the biggest trends currently in the US alcoholic beverage category are hard seltzers. Continuing to increase in demand the last few years, the trend is expected to have a banner year in 2021 with growth of over 35 percent, and potentially up to 50 percent in 2022 according to a recent article in Beverage Daily. In Asia, Europe, and South America the demand and success of the new bubbly alcoholic drink is also surging.
Its definition is comparatively broad: sparkling water (“seltzer”), alcohol, and a light fruity taste – and you can call it a hard seltzer. Especially the younger generation enjoys this new drink category since it is not only light in its taste, but also low in calories and alcohol. The production process varies between brewing and the typical mixing process.
The demand for hard seltzers has more and more breweries shifting their strategies to meet the shifting demographic of drinkers. Krones is currently working with several US beverage companies on their new product launches, providing brewers with expert guidance and support when looking at new or enhanced technology. Our technology portfolio complements this industry well – from product mixing and blending and flash pasteurization, to modifying existing brewhouses, full process design, and final production in various speed can fillers.
Contiflow for mixing
With the various flavor combinations in the market for hard seltzers, producers need flexible technology that provides maximum leeway for product mixing. Krones has just the technology with the Contiflow mixer. With highly accurate dosing, monitored and controlled by Brix or Alcohol measurement, continuous in-line blending of multiple syrup and alcohol components, the Contiflow offers huge advantages in terms of flexibility and means less storage volume compared to batch production processes.
The production process of the Contiflow features deaeration, syrup dosage, chilling, and carbonation. It also offers a compact, easy maintenance design with rapid product changeover in under ten minutes. This flexibility of the LineXpress system enables producers to support numerous SKUs (stock keeping units) with little downtime in between production runs.
Brewing solutions from Sprinkman and Steinecker
Some brewers find they can use their existing brewing system to make the sugar base and we assist them with making the final base product: Our brewing experts within the Krones Group can offer engineering consulting and process design, in conjunction with full turnkey process integration – not only for beer, but also for hard seltzer production.
For the US market, Sprinkman offers small-scale brewing systems, and also provides cellar tanks for fermentation or bulk alcohol storage tanks. Worldwide, the brewing specialists from Steinecker are providing the full portfolio of innovative brewing solutions.
Adding to the technological portfolio for hard seltzer is the Krones VarioFlash flash pasteurizer. This thermal product treatment allows brewers to safely stabilize their sensitive products like hard seltzer. Treatment with the VarioFlash guarantees safe microbiological filling while offering the highest flexibility and short changeover times.
Various can filling options
In terms of filling, the most popular container by far for this sector has been cans. The Kosme Canto is an ideal solution for can filling needs under 10,000 containers per hour due to its ease of use, low maintenance, and volumetric filling capabilities. The Krones Craftmate is a faster and even more flexible can filler for filling up to 20,000 containers per hour which offers minimal oxygen uptake and CO2 consumption resulting in a quality final product.
For beverage producers who want to keep the utmost flexibility, the Kosme Barifill Canto combines the best from the glass and the can filling world. The innovative filling valve allows handling of glass and PET bottles as well as cans on the same machine. With speeds between 2,500 and 16,000 containers per hour, it is the ideal solution for the low output range.
Meeting the trends – and the consumers’ needs
Hard seltzer’s explosive popularity shows how strong the consumers’ interest is for good-tasting, better-for-you options – a trend that is poised to continue in the US for many years to come, and can also be observed in other countries around the globe. The rising health consciousness, especially among the generation of today’s young adults, increases the demand for low and no alcoholic drinks and feeds into this trend as well.
Krones has the expertise and technology to support brewers and beverage producers of all kinds as consumer demands continue to shift. Known for our high-quality, efficient, and flexible technologies Krones is ready to support you no matter your production needs.
For all those who are now curious, we have another event tip: Steinecker will be giving exciting insights into the different production ways of hard seltzer in a webinar next week. You can save a place for a date and time of your choice here: either on 13th of July from 9 am to 10 am (CEST UTC+2), on 15th of July from 7 to 8 am (CEST UTC+2) or from 5 to 6 pm (CEST UTC+2).