Heineken makes global push into hard seltzer category with Pure Piraña and Canijilla

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pure Piraña launches in a total of nine flavors to explore the category. Pic:Heineken
Pure Piraña launches in a total of nine flavors to explore the category. Pic:Heineken

Related tags: Heineken, hard seltzer

Heineken is testing new hard seltzer brand Pure Piraña in New Zealand and Mexico; while exploring the booming US market with Mexican hard seltzer Canijilla.

Pure Piraña will come in a large range of nine flavors, allowing Heineken to test local preferences in Mexico and New Zealand. Meanwhile, hard seltzer brand Canijilla - launched in Mexico last year - will enter the US in select test markets with plans for a wider launch to follow.

Grapefruit, peach, lime

Beer giant Heineken will debut Pure Piraña in Mexico – one of its biggest markets – with Grapefruit, Peach and Red Fruit flavors. Meanwhile, New Zealand will test out Raspberry and Lime. The brand will start rolling out at the end of this month.

The 5% ABV drink is made with carbonated pure mineral water, contains less than 100 calories per 330ml can and is made with natural flavors.

Heineken says the launch demonstrates its commitment to exploring new categories and taste profiles in line with changing consumer demand.

The new hard seltzer is targeted at the ‘modern generation of consumers who are increasingly conscious of their consumption habits and lifestyle choices’.

Jan Derck van Karnebeek, Chief Commercial Officer at Heineken said: “We are seeing more and more people look for a low-calorie alcoholic alternative and the result is the rapid growth of the Hard Seltzer category. The launch of Pure Piraña offers a way for us to meet customers’ evolving needs and explore a new growth opportunity for our business.”

“It offers an exciting new taste experience for anyone looking for a low-calorie, fruity-but-not-sweet alcoholic drink option."

US launch: Canijilla

Meanwhile, Heineken is also testing Canijilla, its premium Mexican Hard Seltzer from Mexico, in a select number of markets in the US. Heineken launched the 5% hard seltzer in Mexico in 2019 in two flavors: limon-pepino and mango picosito.

In the US, the brewer will conduct three-month tests which are designed to allow Heineken to explore local taste preferences, before potentially expanding further to other markets in the US.

Growth potential for hard seltzers outside the US

With smaller US brands' having well and truly proved the potential of hard seltzers over the last couple of years, the category now represents an attractive opportunity for Big Beer. 

In the US, Anheuser-Busch has been exploring the category with launches such as Bud Light Seltzer and Bud Light Platinum Seltzer.​ Molson Coors is playing in the category with brands such as Coors Seltzer and Vizzy hard seltzer.

Constellation Brands, meanwhile, has launched Corona Hard Seltzer - saying it is already the #4 hard seltzer​ in the US after its spring debut this year.  

But outside of the US, it's Danish brewer Carlsberg and now Dutch brewer Heineken who are leading the charge in exploring the global potential of the category. Carlsberg is already trialing its Garage Hard Seltzer brand in Norway and its Somersby Hard Seltzer in Singapore. 

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