Quicktake: France is getting on board with Hard Seltzer with brands Avant Garde, FEFE, Sparking Walter and more coming soon.
If you follow alcoholic drinks trends, you’ve probably noticed that hard seltzer is the next big thing. If you don’t follow drink trends, you might wonder… WTH is hard seltzer? Hard Seltzer is a lightly boozed up bubbly water with a touch of flavoring. It’s low in alcohol (around 5% give or take), usually sold by the can or bottle and is flooding the US and UK drinks markets. If you’re old, think Zima. If you’re young, think White Claw. If you’re DIY, think vodka mixed with sparkling water and a touch of lemon or fruit. It’s been hitting the anglo market hard thanks to both RDT bevvies being popular during COVID confinement and recent summer months calling for refreshing, easy and picnic-portable drinks.
Now the French are adding their own touch to the category with some “Made in France” versions:
Avant Garde by Art is an Ale
It’s not surprising that the Franco-Anglo couple behind Amboise’s craft beer bar, Art is an Ale, decided to try their hand at hard seltzer. The first flavor in their Avant Garde range is Peach. It’s light and refreshing with a comforting flavor of…well, peach, of course. They’ll be bottling up three new flavors and it may be more widely available soon (not sure if I”m supposed to be announcing that but that’s the word I heard when there tasting recently) It’s worth a trip to Amboise to check out the beer bar itself and give their hard seltzer a go while there.
Never one to let France go unrecognized, the team behind le Syndicat has thrown their hat in the ring with their version of a hard called FEFE (“Fait En FrancE” – “Made in France” in English) The site features a few different flavor options, but I was able to find the Bergamont, Mint and Cardamom at FFA. You can also try it at a few bars around town.
Paris-based home alcohol delivery service KOL has created a seltzer with a clever little name (sparking walter/sparkling water), currently in two flavors: citrus/ginger and hibiscus/cactus. This one can be delivered to your door within an hour (in Paris). (With KOL feel free to use my code 2FE92CD for 5 Euros off – it feels a little cheesy putting that out there, but why not save and give 5 Euros?)
Given the general French penchant for lighter drinks and mixing low ABV with flavors (like the diablo ou perroquet) this could be an interesting entry into the French market. Though most of the ones I’ve tried are very, very dry which may prove to be a tiny bit of a barrier. But, overall it’s interesting to see what the local market is doing with the global trend.