Northumberland brewery branches out with launch of ‘hard seltzer’

A Northumberland brewery is finding success with a new product that was launched during the lockdown.

Allendale Brewery has switched from its normal production of craft ales to produce a hard seltzer – a fruit-infused alcoholic sparkling water – called Ride.

The drink is being sold around the UK and exported to Japan, Norway and the Republic of Ireland, with deals also being signed with distributors in Sweden and the Cayman Islands.

It has been developed by Allendale Brewery owners Lucy and Tom Hick after they heard about the rise of hard seltzers in the US.

Ms Hick said: “We’d worked really hard getting the taste right, the brand right, everything, and then coronavirus hit and suddenly we found ourselves facing up to launching a new brand just as pubs and shops shut.

“We considered delaying but decided to go ahead selling it online; we knew there was a big market out there and we wanted to get on with it. We’ve been completely blown away by its popularity.

“The name suits it – it’s gathering speed by itself; a couple of people try it, and word spreads to thousands. They love the fresh taste, the natural fruit flavours, and the fact that it is lighter and lower in alcohol than wine or spirits.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see such huge growth in the UK and it’s unprecedented in our experience to be exporting so rapidly. We had no idea it would catch on so quickly.”

The drink is hand-crafted in small batches, canned on-site, and made with all-UK ingredients. It contains 4% alcohol and is available in four flavours: mango and passionfruit, black cherry, blood orange and lime.

Ms Hick said: “We spent many evenings tasting different flavours at home until we got it just right. We didn’t want to use anything artificial, and we got there in the end – a great-tasting, refreshing, natural drink.

“We’ve never seen a product grow so quickly in popularity. Demand at home and abroad is just unprecedented. And all from a lockdown launch. It’s amazing.”

Mr Hick founded Allendale Brewery in 2004, and it has become known for award-winning beers that include Pennine Pale, Golden Plover and Wagtail.