Saintly Seltzer’s Co-Founder Kieron Barton has told The Shout that he believes that category will follow a similar pattern to his previous Rekorderlig, where a summer of discovery was followed by a summer of volume.
He said that when they launched Rekordelig in the UK in 2008, that was the pattern, and now with seltzers he believes the same will happen, after consumers started to get into the category last summer and understand it more, he thinks seltzers will be massive this summer.
“Versus where seltzers were a couple of years ago, there’s a lot more education and a lot more people on Instagram seeing things like Coachella Festival in the US and seeing people drinking seltzers and seeing how big they are over there.
“So they are ready for it here now, and this year does feel like it’s gearing up and seltzers are going to be even bigger and that’s why we’ve got our new innovation with the cocktails and we’re expecting some good numbers from that as well.”
That innovation is a range a new range of four cocktail-inspired seltzers, each containing zero sugar, zero carbs, just 76 calories per serve and coming in at five per cent alcohol by volume.
But looking ahead for the seltzer category Barton said that, he sees it following in the footsteps of another popular drinks category here.
He told The Shout: “Our retail partners feel like seltzers are the next craft beer, and we can see that as well. You’re seeing all these local brewers popping up and innovating within seltzers so it’s a really exciting space to be in.”
And with so much innovation happening and so many new brands coming into the market, how do brands stand out, and most importantly get people coming back?
“You’ve got to have a brand that can stand out, that’s brave and can disrupt and be different and distinctive so you don’t just blend in with the crowd. You look at craft beer and there’s so much to choose from it can be like ‘wow, what do I choose?’ but people do end up navigating back towards brands they are familiar with or brands that they have heard of.
“It’s like that BrewDog-type approach in the UK, it was really different and distinctive and stood out against everyone else. It was the same for us with Rekorderlig, the cider category was a sea of green, so from a branding point of view we went with something distinctive and played on Swedish fashion and design, which gave it much more appeal.
“And that’s what we’ve done with Saintly it’s distinctive, it’s irreverent, it stands out, it’s fun, but the thing is you can do all of that, but if someone takes your product and it doesn’t taste good then they are never going to come back.”
He added: “My brother Chris he was a good cocktail bartender UK and he’s spent a lot of time putting these liquids together. It must have taken him six to eight iterations of Saintly to get it exactly where he wanted. And that’s key, ultimately the product has got to back-up the branding, back-up and all it stands for with the consumer, because you want them to keep coming back.”
With consumers coming back, the category set for a summer of volume and potentially becoming the next craft beer, the Saintly are looking at expansion, as Barton explained.
“It’s getting to a stage now where we’re looking to get into the on-premise area and export as well is something that’s really opening up to us and we’re tapping into a lot of the networks that we’ve got with Rekorderlig.
“As a business and brand it’s getting bigger that we thought it would be and we just need more and more people on-board. When we started we really wanted to be Australia’s biggest independent seltzer, we know it’s going to be tough to beat the likes of Lion because they’ve got this huge footprint across the country. But if over the next couple of years we can cement the growth we’ve been having then that’s going to be great for us.
“On-premise is really key for us in that growth, it’s where brands are built, it’s where consumers have the great experiences and I think as soon as we can get out of this situation consumers are just going to be going back to the on-premise in droves. So it’ll be a mixture of packaged and draught where we can get in to places, but key for us now is speaking to groups and getting ready to do some great experiential-type events, things like Saintly Seltzer Sundays obviously work really well, so it’s about a lot more than just getting product listed, we really want to do some great activations.”
The Saintly range is available now in cans, and with some of the range also available on draught the team are set well for the summer of volume.