Flying Fish
Flying Fish seltzer range
  • Flying Fish seltzers will be available exclusively through Pick n Pay in early April.
  • Hard seltzers – a combination of sparkling water, alcohol and fruit juice or flavouring – are popular in the United States but have yet to break into the South African market.
  • The locally produced hard seltzers will come in two flavours – lemon & lime and raspberry – in 300ml slim cans, containing 5.5% alcohol by volume.
  • South African Breweries has big plans for Flying Fish’s seltzers but is conducting a three-month ‘trial’ phase to gauge consumer interest.
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Popular flavoured beer brand Flying Fish is launching a new range of hard seltzer beverages, which contain a combination of carbonated water and alcohol. The drinks are due to hit shelves at the beginning of April and will come in two flavours: lemon & lime and raspberry.

Flying Fish entered the country in late 2013 as the first flavoured beer to be produced by South African Breweries (SAB). The brand’s seltzer range is another first for SAB.

A hard seltzer is a mixed alcoholic beverage consisting of sparkling water, alcohol and a dash of fruit juice or flavouring. Unlike beer, which is brewed by fermenting malted grains, the alcohol content in hard seltzers is a spirit derived from sugar cane. The drink is a low-calorie alternative to beer and cider.

While alcoholic seltzers have grown in popularity in the United States (US) – with industry-leader White Claw selling more than 30 million cases of its popular carbonated drink in 2020 – the South African market has been limited to a few niche producers.

Local brands like Rockhopper, Dragon and Savage Sparkles have dipped into the hard seltzer market but have remained firmly outside of the mainstream. Flying Fish, which has traditionally relied on targeting both beer and cider drinkers with its flavoured options, will be the first to mass produce hard seltzers and distribute them through SAB’s extended network.

“Our ambition is to grow this category with one of our premium and well-liked brands, Flying Fish… a brand in our portfolio born to bring new and exciting category experiences and now brings SAB’s first hard seltzer,” explains Zintle Botha, SAB’s Director of New Ventures.

Flying Fish’s hard seltzers will hit shelves in early April and be available in 300ml slim cans containing 5.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). A single can will retail for R15, a six-pack for R85 and a case for R305. For the first three months, Flying Fish seltzers will be sold exclusively through Pick n Pay, Pick n Pay online and Bottles.

Described as a “light and easy-drinking beverage”, Flying Fish seltzers contain 0.5g sugar/100ml and 35 calories/100ml. By comparison, 100ml of Flying Fish beer contains 5.6g of sugar and double the calorie count.

And although SAB believes “that the hard seltzer category will do incredibly well in South Africa”, Flying Fish is adopting a considered rollout strategy to properly gauge interest. In addition to limiting sales to Pick n Pay outlets, the first batches of the product will be produced by a third party.

“Once this product has proven to be a success, it will be integrated into an SAB brewery,” notes Flying Fish in a statement.

“If the product meets commercial expectations, we aim to increase distribution to other retailers from July 2021.”

Flying Fish is also limiting its size and flavour options for the purpose of its market “trial”.

“Once the product has proven to be desirable, a larger SKU size will be investigated. A third flavour is [also] in the pipeline and will launch once the product is better known in market,” adds Flying Fish.

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