How Can A Hard Seltzer Have Zero Carbs? Which ones?

If you drink alcohol you will not have missed the rise of the hard seltzers in advertising or on the shelves. Their biggest plus point is the low calories from the very low carb and sugar levels. In general, they will only have about 2g of carbs per 12fl oz but there are some with zero carbs! How is that possible, how can a hard seltzer have zero carbs?

How can a hard seltzer have zero carbs?

Most hard seltzers only have 2g of carbs per 12fl oz serving, this is in the form of flavouring. The zero carb seltzers generally remove the sweet flavouring altogether or replace it with zero carb alternatives. The other ingredients are already zero carb – sparkling water and pure alcohol base.

The question then becomes, do they taste the same and is it worth sacrificing the small amount of carbs in a standard hard seltzer for a zero carb option.

Which hard seltzers have zero carbs?

Below is a list of all the hard seltzers i can currency find which have zero carbs…

Michelob ULTRA Organic Seltzer

White Claw Pure

Jose Cuervo Playamar Hard Seltzer

Crook and Marker Spiked Seltzer

Cutwater Lime Tequila Soda

Corona Hard Seltzer Berry flavours

This list is ever growing and no doubt I’ve missed a few out, please let me know if you find a few more.

Is every drink from these companies zero carbs?

The simple answer is no!

I live in the UK and take Corona Tropical for an example. It has nearly 4g per 12fl oz for their tropical flavours. The ones that actually have zero carbs are the berry versions which i cant buy. So be careful!


How many carbs do standard hard seltzers have?

Hard seltzers are quite a uniform bunch. By in large they all have the the same number of calories, 100.

If they all also have about the same amount of alcohol, 5% ABV, that logically means they will all have about the same amount of carbs!

In general, most of the hard seltzers on the market have about 2g of carbs per 12fl oz can. This can be made up of zero-2g of sugar per can. This is actually very low in the sparkling alcoholic market.

Carbs in beer vs carbs in standard hard seltzers

What about beer? It has about the same alcohol as a hard seltzer but does it have more carbs?

The USDA state the average alcoholic beer has 3.55g of carbs per 100ml and 12.6g of carbs in a 12fl oz serving. So clearly the average alcoholic beer is quite high and carbs and unlikely to be keto friendly despite being lower than non alcoholic beers on average.

Comparing it with hard seltzers, it is clear that the hard seltzers have a fraction of the carbs of beer. This is a big plus point.

How do they remove all the carbs?

If we think of a hard seltzer as basically a flavoured sparkling water with alcohol there is only one of these components that contain carbs in the first place that can be removed.

Fizzy water is zero carbs as is pure alcohol as the base. This only leaves the flavour component.

You can then either remove all the flavour or replace it with zero carb/zero sugar alternative chemicals.

Does it affect the taste?

In my opinion, a lot of the hard seltzers aren’t that strong tasting (of their flavours) anyway. This is a product of keeping the carbs low and the sugar lower.

White Claw Pure just removes all the flavour and you are left with an alcoholic sparkling water. I’m sure this is to some peoples tastes, not mine.

White Claw Pure

The rest can taste slightly muted too, but in general they taste just the same as the regular hard seltzers. They won’t taste a full flavour as a really sugary can of soda/pop but that isn’t why you buy them

Where does the 100 calories in a hard seltzer come from?

Around 95% of the calories in hard seltzers are directly from the alcohol. Hard seltzers contains 14g of pure alcohol. The other 5% of calories come from the 2g of carbohydrates which is half sugars. Alcohol is much more calorie dense than carbohydrate but the minimal amount of carbs in a hard seltzer helps keep the calories to 100.

For more information, read my article on it here

How much alcohol is in a hard seltzer?

Most of the hard seltzers have 5% alcohol by volume which equates to 14g of pure alcohol per 12fl oz.

Below is a list of the standard drinks, volumes and ABV that all give 14g of alcohol.

Drink and volumeAlcohol content
12fl oz Beer5%
5fl oz Wine12%
1.5fl oz Spirit40%
Standard Drinks

So as you can see, a standard beer is a 12fl oz and 5% alcohol by volume beer, which has the same alcohol as 5fl oz of 12% wine and a 1.5fl oz shot of 40% spirit.

Which alcohol is in a hard seltzer?

Different hard seltzers use different alcohol bases and despite what you would think, almost none of them are vodka.

The alcoholic base in White Claw hard seltzers is a pure spirit which is five times distilled from corn. Corn is not an unusual base for a spirit but will initially make a pure and flavourless alcohol to mix with the seltzer flavours.

The alcoholic base in Truly Hard Seltzer is a pure spirit which is distilled from sugar cane. Sugar cane is not an unusual base for a spirit, it is classically used in rum, but will initially make a pure and flavourless alcohol to mix with the seltzer flavours.

The alcoholic base in Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is a pure spirit which is distilled from agave. Agave is not an unusual base for a spirit, it is classically used in tequila, but will initially make a pure and flavoured alcohol to mix with the seltzer flavours.

How many hard seltzers to get you drunk?

Let’s use White Claw as an example.

The CDC states it takes the average 160lb adult male, 4 standard beers to get drunk. A standard beer is 12fl oz and 5% ABV which is the same as a White Claw. The 4 White Claws have to be drank over 1-2 hours. If you are a female or lighter then it will take less White Claws, if you are a significantly heavier male, it may take 5+ White Claws to get drunk.

For the full math, read this article

Can you lose weight drinking hard seltzers?

Drinking hard seltzers alone will not make you lose weight as they contain 100kcal per can.

If you switch to drinking hard seltzers from a high calorie and higher carb alcoholic drink, like beer, then you can potentially lose weight relative to what you would have been.

The devil as always is in the detail. You can’t just start drinking hard seltzer and think it will magic weight away but if you usually have 10 high calorie beers a week and you switch to a hard seltzer, this will lower your overall calorie intake.

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Hi im Phil. Im the sole writer on this site. For more info look at my about page

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