‘Redefining the drinking experience’: Primer Hard Seltzer launches with non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions in the same multi-pack

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Primer offers three ABV strengths in one pack. All pics: Primer
Primer offers three ABV strengths in one pack. All pics: Primer

Related tags: hard seltzer, NABLAB

Most low/no drinkers are not solely dedicated to the category: choosing rather to switch between full strength and lower alcohol alternatives – often even during the same occasion. So new US brand Primer has designed its brand as a ‘one-stop-shop’ system: packaging its drinks with three different ABVs in one multi-pack.

Primer Electrolyte Charged Hard Seltzers is gearing up to launch in the Midwest in February 2022. The brand will be sold in nine-packs with three of each ABV: 0% ABV, 5% ABV and 8% ABV.

As well as catering to the modern moderate consumer, duo see their brand as driving the evolution of the hard seltzers, with innovation in the category up to now based primarily around new flavor launches.

Category lines between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are blurring

Based outside Milwaukee, Primer has been created by two industry veterans who have spent over 10 years helping to shape popular US lifestyle beverage brands like superstar hard seltzer White Claw and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Co-founders Anthony Spina and Matt Sievers say they want to ‘redefine the drinking experience’: noting the category lines between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are blurring like never before.

According to IWSR figures, 58% of consumers want to switch between full strength and no/low ABV drinks during the same occasion. Meanwhile, 78% of non-alcoholic drink buyers in the US can also be found purchasing alcoholic beer, wine or spirits, according to Nielsen IQ.

The founders also considered a typical party occasion, where not everyone wants the same strength drink.

primer inset 2

“We came up with the concept for Primer based on what we were seeing directly around us, not only in our own peer group but within a larger social context,”​ said the duo.

“We have always been socialized into drinking a conventional way - meaning the more you drank the more fun you were having. Not only has this proven untrue in practice for so many, but it also left out those who may not be drinking but still wanted to be a part of the party.

"Whether somebody is fully sober, taking a night off, or just doesn’t like the taste or feeling of alcohol they shouldn’t automatically be separated from their social group.

“The big “ah ha” moment was when we realized that nobody was providing a one-stop-shop inclusive drinking system that had something for everyone and would fit into all occasions. From that moment on, we realized as simple as it may seem, there was potential to actually shift the foundational way society was drinking. 

“We had a blast testing PRIMER in natural outdoor gatherings with our friends to see if the concept would work in real life. The end result was so natural and seamless, many people didn’t even really notice that they were naturally shifting between the three ABVs.”

Same taste for each ABV

The drinks are available in two flavors: black cherry and mango. The beverages are also infused and charged by electrolytes. Each drink contains 2g of sugar and carbs per serving, between 20 and 180 calories, and are gluten-free.

Each of the three ABVs are designed to all offer the same taste, mouthfeel and drinking experience: and the brand engaged brewmaster Randy Hughes to create the seltzers.

“We spent months doing taste trials to fine-tune not only the individual liquids, but also the interplay between the three for a consistent taste and refreshing feel,”​ continue the duo.

The hard seltzer category has seen meteoric growth in the US to date. Much innovation to date, however, has focused on new flavors within a relatively narrow spectrum of fruity flavors. The entrepreneurs predict that the next step for the hard seltzer category will be to develop beyond this.

“We envision the overall breadth and depth of the hard seltzer category will to continue to grow, with innovation driving the space. This evolution includes elevated and unique ingredients alongside differentiated foundational product offerings beyond simply new flavors.” 

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