In the 2023 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Hard Fizz looks forward to continued growth, driven by the booming seltzer trend and plenty of innovation and collaboration.
Hard Fizz has enjoyed a huge amount of success in its first full year of trade, including increasing its distribution in retail, and expanding its presence on-premise.
According to CEO, Wade Tiller, 2022 was a massive year where Hard Fizz was able to cement itself as a “genuine player” in the booming hard seltzer category, while developing great relationships with major retail partners.
2022 was also great because the world could once again operate unabated on-premise and at festivals.
Tiller says: “That allowed our Co-founder DJ Fisher to go on a four stop national tour where we sold 100,000 cans – and that was our original idea to showcase the brand at launch (until COVID kicked in).
“The flip side of that coin is when you grow so rapidly, it’s important to add the right pieces from a resource perspective; and having not existed before COVID and perhaps not fully understanding how big retail can be, that was a steep learning curve for us.”
One of the key growth drivers for Hard Fizz in 2022 was broadening availability through retail and adding more people on the ground to achieve increased distribution.
The brand also added some exciting new flavours, headlined by its exclusive flavour for IBA retailers, Blueberry Lemonade. More recently, it has added a Piña Colada variety, after the flavour proved to be a popular choice at the Hard Fizz brewery.
The immediate focus for Hard Fizz in 2023 is around the rollout of NPD and tapping into the clear trends associated with hard seltzer that Hard Fizz isn’t playing in yet.
Tiller continues: “We also have some exciting plans to innovate this year – some of them are out of the box and not exactly easy to deliver but we’re excited to give them go.
“Without giving too much away, we have a few new products in the works so expect to see some functional ingredients as we tackle fuller flavours while maintaining zero sugar. We’re also looking to play around with some higher ABV drinks.”
In 2022, Hard Fizz also thought outside the box, and collaborated with Salty Pirate Crew to hook into the NFT craze. Tiller has hinted that more quirky collaborations lie ahead.
“The Salty Pirate Crew collab was an exciting project and one we’ve had some great feedback on. We also collaborated with Alfred’s Apartment, a local Gold Coast clothing, label as well as SDS (Surf, Dive ‘n Ski) and FAE swimwear; and now we’re fielding enquiries from some really big, globalised Australian brands wanting to work with us,” he says.
“We’ve got the ability to do these collabs; we’ve got the plant here (FIZZ HQ) so we can do a quick turn and zig where they zag.”
What should the industry be discussing in 2023?
Tiller said: “Hard Fizz is extremely proud of the diversity in our team. We built it from scratch so it’s a well-founded, diverse workforce in terms of gender, age, and background (and that’s working for us). So, I think the industry needs to keep discussing that as an issue.
“Supply chain and inflationary pressures are also real, and as an industry, we need to band together to tackle that.
“Sustainability is always a big one – we have an amazing skill set in Australia, so the question is: how do we cooperate as a sector to maintain that strength?”
Article written by Deb Jackson.