Hard seltzer business is booming, and there are more brands and varieties to choose from than ever before. But for anyone still not ready to take the seltzer plunge, Wisconsin-based Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. is finally offering a compromise: “beer with a splash of seltzer.”
In a Wednesday press release, parent company Molson Coors announced the debut of Leinenkugel’s Spritzen, a beer-seltzer hybrid that takes a cue from the brand’s successful beer-with-a-splash-of-lemonade shandies, and marries fruit flavors with crisp beer.
According to Katie Leinenkugel, the company’s brand strategy and engagement lead, “There are plenty of beers on the market and a variety of seltzers entering the category, but nobody is offering the best of both worlds except us.”
Spritzen will be available nationwide in three flavors: grapefruit, raspberry lemon, and pineapple strawberry.
When Spritzen was first announced back in November, Leinenkugel’s president Dick Leinenkugel was upfront about the challenges his company has faced due to the surge in popularity of hard seltzer.
“There’s no doubt that that seltzer space has taken some of our drinkers from Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy,” Leinenkugel said, and added that Spritzen could be the ideal product “to get those drinkers back that may have … left shandy for a hard seltzer.”
Spritzen seems tailor-made to compete with White Claw from a nutritional standpoint. All three varieties feature fewer calories (93 versus 100), less sugar (zero grams versus two), and less alcohol (4.2 percent ABV versus 5 percent) than the current category leader.
But what about the most important factor, flavor? It will be up to the consumer (and possibly the VinePair tasting panel) to decide if a product that touts its less-than-White Claw cred can exceed the competition where it counts.