Hard soda is a soda-style alcoholic beverage based on malted brews. It is considered an adult beverage, meaning you must be 21 years old to purchase.
In 2015 Small Town Brewery launched Not Your Father’s Root Beer and saw sales of 2.4 million cases that year — a surprise to the beer industry. The sales of the hard soda outpaced supply.
Its success in the near-beer segment saw competitors launch Henry’s Hard Soda (Miller-Coors); Seagram’s Lemon N Lime, Cherry Cola, Orange Cream, and Grape; Coney Island (Boston Beer Company) Hard Root Beer, Orange Cream Ale and Ginger Ale; Best Damn Brewing Company (Anheuser- Busch) Root Beer and Cherry Coke.
These soda-flavored beverages are riding a wave of nostalgia with all-American flavors of root beer and ginger ale. They also are part of a marketing strategy to attract drinkers who do not care for the bitter hops flavors in many beers.
Jamey Grosser of W.G. Brewing Company has called hard sodas “comfort food” and trend indicators demonstrate that the category is not going flat. More flavors are being launched and more players are entering the market in 2016.
Six-pack prices range from $7.99-$13.99.
Most are available in both bottles and cans.
Hard sodas can be had at your neighborhood supermarket: BI-LO, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Publix, Target and Wal-Mart.
Local beverage superstores sell them, too: Bottles Beverage Superstore (Mount Pleasant) and Total Wine and More as well as some bars, ABC stores and convenience stores.
Selection varies with location.
In a way paved by a growing interest in fruity ales and hard sodas along with the cultivated taste for root beer, ginger ale and classic soda flavors, the hard sodas stay close to their soft drink flavor clones in taste.
Ginger ales are not robust with ginger; caramel notes are woven into the root beers. Alcohol content ranges from 4.2-5.6 percent.