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.
NAME: Kamini Dickie
TITLE: Beverage Specialist at CleverFish consulting
BIOGRAPHY: Kamini specialises in the development and commercialisation of beverage products from technical collaboration, sensory and consumer science to marketing and product launch. With 20 years in the global brewing industry Kamini’s passion for beer has led her to contribute to many industry-wide initiatives. Recently, she moved into another part of the beverage industry – this time it’s tea, coffee and botanicals, focusing on cross-category product innovations.
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.
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.
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.