Why Is Hard Seltzer So Expensive? What gives?

Hard seltzers are one of the go to drinks these days but should they be cheaper? They taste like fizzy water with some flavouring and i can barely taste any alcohol. So why are they priced so high and right in the expensive alcoholic drink market? Why are hard seltzers so expensive?

It’s time to lift the bonnet and see what goes into one and why you might be paying a little more than you think you should.

Why are hard seltzers so expensive?

Hard seltzers are so expensive as the are subject to the same taxes as any alcoholic drink so need to price themselves accordingly. They have all the usual ingredients costs as well as a shot of alcohol, which then puts them in line for various liquor taxes. This means they price themselves like a beer which many see expensive to some.

How much do hard seltzers cost?

Hard seltzers can vary in cost like anything else according to where you buy them. The more you bulk buy at once the cheaper you will likely get them for as well.

As a general rule of thumb, a hard seltzer will cost towards $2 for a single can (not in a bar). This is quite pricey especially compared to beers which may have more flavour and pedigree.

How much do hard seltzers cost vs beer?

Do hard seltzers cost more than beer? The only way to find out is to compare some prices.

Below is a small sample of common hard seltzer and beer prices from the online store Drizly.

DrinkCost per 6 pack
White Claw$11.29
Bud Light$9.99
Lagunitas IPA$11.87
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale$10.99
Cost per 6 pack in Drizly.com

So as you can see, a 6 pack of hard seltzer is coming in at least the same price as beers, if not a bit more expensive to some.

What is a hard seltzer made of?

What is even in a hard seltzer and why can it contribute to the price?

A hard seltzer can be called a spiked seltzer. This just means it is a normal seltzer water which has been “spiked” with alcohol.

There is no great mystery to a hard seltzer, there is only really 3 basic components.

  1. Seltzer water – basically just carbonated fizzy water
  2. Favouring – a small amount of carbs and sugar which make up whatever flavour it is mean to be
  3. Alcohol base – there is a shot of alcohol which costs to make and brings in tax implications.

What alcohol is in a hard seltzer?

The alcoholic base in White Claw for example, 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.

This makes White Claw somewhat unique in the hard seltzer world as nearly all of its rivals are based on a sugar cane distillation. Topo Chico is the only other difference product with a alcohol based on agave.

Full article here

How much alcohol is in a hard seltzer? Is it the same as beer?

In terms of alcohol and volume, Hard Seltzer have exactly the same as a standard beer. They both are 12fl oz in volume and 5% alcohol by volume. 

Hard Seltzer is the equivalent on a beer in terms of alcohol content.

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.

How much does a DIY hard seltzer cost?

If you’re wondering how much it costs to make hard seltzer, the answer may surprise you. While the ingredients are relatively inexpensive, the process of making hard seltzer can be quite costly.

To start, you’ll need to purchase a Carbonator. These machines can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 depending on the brand and features. Then, you’ll need to buy CO2 canisters which will set you back about $30 for a pack of 24.

Next, you’ll need to purchase the actual hard seltzer concentrate. This can cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per bottle. And lastly, you’ll need to factor in the cost of packaging. Bottles, cans, and kegs all have different price points.

So, how much does it really cost to make hard seltzer? It depends on a lot of factors, but you can expect to spend at least $200 to get started. And that’s not including the cost of labor!

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