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The Ultimate Guide to Hard Seltzers: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: May 28

In recent years, hard seltzers have taken the alcoholic beverage world by storm. It’s been a while since a new alcoholic beverage category was created or even coined. While we saw the craft beer movement and even the cocktail culture pick up in India, the Hard Seltzer movement was an entirely different and truly innovative category created and popularised in the US in the summer of 2019, and hit Indian shores in 2022.

What Are Hard Seltzers?

They are light, refreshing, flavoured alcoholic drinks that have become a favourite among many for their low-calorie count and refreshing taste profile.

But what exactly are hard seltzers, and why have they become so popular? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about hard seltzers, from their origins and ingredients to their health benefits and how to choose the best one for your taste.

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The History of Hard Seltzers

While hard seltzers may seem like a recent trend, their roots can be traced back to the early 2010s. The first commercially successful hard seltzer was Spiked Seltzer, launched in 2013 in the United States by Nick Shields. Shields was inspired by the popularity of flavored seltzer waters and saw an opportunity to create a similar product with alcohol. The brand was later acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 2016, leading to an explosion in popularity and the emergence of numerous competitors in the market.

Why Are Hard Seltzers So Popular?

Several factors contribute to the rising popularity of hard seltzers:

  1. Low-Calorie and Low-Carb: IST’s OG 4.5% ABV product contains 99 calories and 2 grams of carbs per serving, appealing to health-conscious consumers.

  2. Refreshing Taste: The light and crisp nature of hard seltzers, combined with a variety of fruit & botanical flavours, makes them a refreshing alternative to heavier beers and sugary cocktails.

  3. Convenience: Packaged in bottles, hard seltzers are easy to transport and perfect for outdoor activities, parties, and casual gatherings, unlike cocktails which take glasses, mixers, garnishing, etc.

  4. Gluten-Free Options: IST is gluten-free, making them a suitable choice for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease or on gluten-free lifestyles

Key Ingredients in Hard Seltzers

Hard seltzers can be produced through two primary methods: blending and brewing. Understanding the differences between these methods can help you choose the best hard seltzer for your taste and preferences.

Blended Hard Seltzers

Blended hard seltzers, such as IST, are made by mixing a grain-neutral alcohol base with carbonated water and all-natural flavours. This method allows for a wide variety of flavours and a cleaner, more crisp and consistent taste profile, making them highly refreshing and easy to drink.

Key Ingredients in IST

  • Grain Neutral Spirit: A gluten-free clear alcohol base distilled multiple times for a clean and neutral flavor profile.

  • Sparkling Water: Mildly carbonated & purified Goan water.

  • 100% Natural Fruits & Botanicals: Naturally derived from real food sources, such as fruits, herbs, spices, and botanicals, our combination of all-natural flavors gives IST its unique taste.

  • Sugar: We value transparency, which is why we're upfront about the sugar content in our drinks —the entire 330-ml bottle contains less than 2 grams.

  • You might wonder why we include any sugar at all! The answer is simple: a small amount of sugar helps to soften the alcohol's harshness, creating a smoother, more enjoyable blend. But how much is 2 grams, really? To put it in perspective, a 300-ml can of tonic water contains 26.4 grams of sugar. That means our beverage has less than 10% of the sugar found in tonic water! (& most other flavoured alcoholic beverages)

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Brewed Hard Seltzers

Brewed hard seltzers, on the other hand, are made similarly to beer. The alcohol is produced by fermenting sugars from grains such as malted barley. This process can impart subtle malt flavours and a slightly fuller body compared to blended seltzers.

Fun Fact: A lot of the Hard Seltzer brands that are made via the brewing route in the US, are actually “blended” in the UK/ Europe. Wonder Why? DM us to know more!


Hard seltzers have carved out a niche in the alcoholic beverage industry, offering a light, refreshing, and low-calorie alternative to traditional alcoholic drinks. Whether you’re hosting a few friends over, looking to cut that beer belly, or simply looking for a new drink to try this summer, IST Hard Seltzer provides a versatile and enjoyable option.

Cheers to discovering your new favourite drink!

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