According to IRI data, four of the ten fastest growing malt beverage/beer brands in Ohio over the past 12 months are hard seltzer brands, and apparently word is out. After Cleveland’s Platform Beer Co. announced the launch of a hard seltzer program, Cincinatti’s Braxton Brewing was quick to follow with one of its own. And two days later, March First Brewing, Cincinnati’s only brewery, cidery and distillery, announced the return of its hard seltzer. March first released two flavors in its taproom on Nov. 29 to gather feedback from customers on the flavor profile. The hard seltzer sold out the next day and was a huge success for the brewery.
“We knew we hit a home run with our seltzer when we first tasted it internally, but once it was flowing in the taproom, customers were asking for more,” said Josh Engel, March First representative. “The feedback we gathered was truly amazing, and we used that direct feedback to tweak our recipe for our full production batch that is coming out this Friday.”
The hard seltzer category is already reaching towards the $500 million mark nationwide. In the first four months of 2018, the top six hard seltzer brands sold the equivalent of 1.8 million cases. These numbers are comparable to the sales of some of the biggest brewing companies here in the United States.
March First plans to roll out its Saturn Peach Hard Seltzer in the taproom first, and then quickly move to packaged sales and distribution. All-natural fruit flavors that will eventually join Saturn Peach will include Lime Citrus, Red Raspberry, Badami Mango, Black Cherry and Pink Grapefruit. The seltzers will be gluten free and low calorie.
“We’re really proud to be the first brewery in Cincinnati to bring this new popular style of beverage to market. We’ve been planning this for a long time, and we are excited for the city to try it,” said Josh Engel.