Irish and English hard seltzer comes to France in a party box

Quicktake: Loki & Co and DRTY hard seltzers now available in France via My Bar in a Box, individually or as part of a themed apero kit

Hard Seltzer stats are booming. This spiked and sparkling RTD is not only grabbing young new drinkers but also converting older drinkers and outselling global beer brands. Last time we talked seltzer, I highlighted some of the new made-in-France options. Since then, even more French made seltzers have hit the market and we’re seeing more imports as well.

In preparation for summer months, I’ve been taste testing a couple of the Irish and English imports now available in France via My Bar in a Box. My Bar in a Box is a new online boutique by Direct Distribution, which had been selling Irish, British, and Australian products directly to bars for many years in pre-Covid times. With bars closed, they developed a site for easy home aperos with various themed bar boxes and individual products for sale. I checked out their two different brands of seltzer, Loki & Co and DRTY, which you can buy individually in a box of 12 (31.20 Euros) or in the Spring Picnic Box (51 Euros for a box with hard seltzers, beer, wine cider & crisps – including Tayto for Irish expats craving a little comfort from home).

The Loki & Co. range comes in old school cans with fun graphics and is made with a wine base, sparkling Irish mineral water and natural fruit flavors. It’s 4% ABV (85 calories for those counting – and that’s a big part of the selling point of these less boozy alcoholic beverages). The fruit flavors come through nicely on the Apple & Elderflower and the Orange & Mango. They are dryer which makes them feel a bit more refreshing and adult than something too saccharine.

DRTY looks and feels a lot like the phenomenally popular White Claw from the tall cylindrical can to the similar flavor offering (Raspberry Rose and White Citrus).  This is also sparkling water, and natural fruit flavours but with a carb-free alcohol base. Much like the Loki it’s 4% ABV and 89 calories. I do like the slick, modern packaging, but don’t love the name which seems a little cheesy (but I guess a Raspberry Rose by any other name….)  I found both of these flavors light and crisp with a touch of fruit or citrus. Basically both brands deliver an easy to drink alcoholic sparkling water with a dry touch of fruit. Some people tell me that they work as mixers as well, though we didn’t try that ourselves.

On another note, I think hard seltzer may just be the thing that brings cans to France. I know we’re seeing a lot of canned craft beer and wine in the US as it’s shaking off it’s bad image. In Paris, I see cans of beer in the more artisanal shops, but not regularly and have yet to see a can of rose wine. France can be slow to change when it comes to their traditional sips, but since hard seltzers is something new, there aren’t much in the way of preconceived notions on what kind of container is appropriate. So perhaps alcoholic seltzers will be the gateway drink to get more aluminum cans into France, which – from my understanding – is a little easier on the environment than bottles.

I also believe that France as a market is primed for these kinds of drinks. Cafes are constantly full of young French patrons sipping on zero or low alcohol drinks that last awhile (coca-zero, panaches, half pints of lager, etc) Also, the popularity of the long and low-ABV Aperol spritz has helped to wean the French palette off the sweeter mojito, to something a touch dryer. So, if these brands can successfully get in front of the audience, I think they will be easily embraced here. 

You won’t find the same complexity that you would in a craft cocktail with stronger spirits, but that’s not really what these drinks are about. They are fuss-free refreshing sparkling RTD’s with a little bit of a buzz that will be easy drinkers for upcoming summer months, picnics, and BBQ’s. 

My Bar in a Box website

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