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Hard Seltzer

Key information

1st of June, from 14:00 to 15:00 C.E.T

Session description

Originating in the US in the early 2010s, hard seltzer – alcoholic, and often flavoured, sparkling water – has taken the North American RTD (ready-to-drink) category to another level. And now Europe is seeing a notable jump in hard seltzer launches. In this session, beverage specialist Kamini Dickie looks at why the popularity of hard seltzers continues to grow and what makes them a fresh alternative to the more traditional alcoholic drinks. Casey O’Neill, Boston Beer Company’s Director of Product Development, will share the brewer’s strategy in developing one of the world’s leading hard seltzer brands. And with consumers in search of diet-friendly and cleaner label alcoholic drinks, Rhodri Evans from the consultancy group at Exponent, a firm which consults across a wide range of areas including food and chemical regulation, will focus on the European marketing challenges from a product labelling and claims perspective.

Speakers information

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NAME: Kamini Dickie

TITLE: Beverage Specialist at CleverFish consulting

BIOGRAPHY: Kamini specialises in the development and commercialisation of beverages from technical collaboration, sensory and consumer science to marketing and product launch. With 20 years in the global brewing industry – including leading Flavour & Innovation at the technical brewing consultancy Campden-BRI, commercial development and technical editor at the industry publication Brewers’ Guardian, and global brewing key accounts leader at IFF (then DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences) – Kamini’s passion for beer has led her to contribute to many industry-wide initiatives. Recently, she moved to different kind brewing; this time tea and coffee (and also botanicals) as global head of marketing & communications at Finlays. Today, she is principal consultant at CleverFish focusing on cross-category product innovations. Kamini is a big lover of Belgian beer… and chocolate!

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION: The Hard Seltzer bubble… is not about to burst

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: After years of occupying a niche in the North American flavoured alcoholic beverage market, hard seltzers are seeing an explosion of innovation and a focus on new markets. Often marketed as a low calorie alternative to beer and other traditional beverages their popularity continues to grow globally embracing consumer intentions to lead healthier lifestyles and a thirst to explore natural flavours.

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NAME: Casey O’Neill

TITLE: Director of Product Development, Boston Beer Company

BIOGRAPHY: Casey O’Neill is Director of Product Development at the Boston Beer Company and proud Advanced Cicerone.  Casey lives her passion for science every day in the innovation lab, where she has overseen the development of Beyond Beer products such as Truly Hard Seltzer, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, and Twisted Tea for over 10 years.  In addition to loving her day to day in the beverage development lab, she has an unquenchable thirst for learning. With a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Business Innovation from Northeastern University, she is currently studying for her third degree, a Masters in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois. Though hard to pick a favorite style, Truly Grapefruit holds a special place in her heart as one of the original three flavors in the Truly Lineup. She currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION: New Product Development Strategy at Truly Hard Seltzer

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: In this presentation, Casey O’Neill will give an overview of the product development process for Truly Hard Seltzer. This will include initial ideation, recipe development and ingredient considerations, and strategies for drinker testing.

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NAME: Rhodri Evans

TITLE: Head of food safety & regulatory affairs (Europe), Exponent

BIOGRAPHY: Rhodri leads the European Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs consulting team in Exponent. He has a proven track record in food safety and food regulatory affairs after fifteen years working with the national food regulatory authorities in the UK and Ireland, initially with the Food Standards Agency in the UK from 1999 to 2006, and from 2006 to 2014 with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. In his latter post, he was Chief Specialist in Chemical Safety and led the regulatory controls on the safety of chemicals in food. Dr Evans initially joined Exponent in 2014 and successfully developed the European food consultancy services in this role over a four year period. He has recently returned to Exponent after 2 years working as Group Head of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs with a world leading supplier of ingredients to the global food and beverage industry.

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION: The regulatory landscape for hard seltzers in Europe – how to navigate the do’s and don’ts for labelling and claims

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: Given increasing consumer demand for healthier products and the associated producer preference for “clean” labels, Rhodri Evans will give an overview in this presentation of the regulatory framework applicable to the hard seltzer category in Europe.  He will focus on regulatory aspects related to labelling and claims, and discuss how businesses can make informed decisions on what information they can provide about their product to customers.


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NAME: Larry Nelson

TITLE: Founder, Advantage Publishing Ltd

BIOGRAPHY: Publisher of The Brewery Manual and The Cider Manual, annual directories detailing the myriad players in UK brewing and cidermaking industries. Publisher and editor of Brewers’ Guardian for more than a decade, with publication of the title currently suspended. Previously the brewing industry columnist for just-drinks.com

A Canadian who has lived in the Home Counties outside London for the past 30 years. Has worked as a journalist both in Canada and the UK. Graduate of the University of Westminster with a Master of Arts in Journalism.

Writing majors on the business of beer and cider, both in the UK and globally. Writes copy for various industry suppliers. Experienced beer judge. Staging one-man campaign to have Hogs Back Brewery in Surrey, England return to brewing single varietal Farnham White, the only beer in the world to make use of Farnham White Bine hops. Lovely stuff.

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