Is more actually better?

With the meteoric rise of craft beer there came a startling rise in a drink’s ABV as well. The ABV (alcohol by volume) is the measurement of pure alcohol (ethanol) contained in every 100 mL of beer, wine, and liquor. While a large percentage of beers hovered in the 5.5 – 6% ABV region, hyper-alcoholic entries gained popularity among beer-heads and craft enthusiasts.

For instance, a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has a 5.6% ABV, while a Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA boasts a 7.2% ABV. The Torpedo IPA is even a low ABV compared with say, Monday Night Brewing’s Cardigans of the Galaxy, a Double IPA that has a whopping 9.5% ABV.

These are great for those who love incredibly full-bodied beers to sip away at at your local brew-pub, but for many this rise in ABV meant having to chug a very boozy drink quickly before it grew warm, leading to drinking too much too fast and the inevitable hangover that came as a result.


But what about light beers instead? A Coors Light, for example, has only a 4.2% ABV, significantly lower than some of the beers listed above. But there is just one problem for many drinkers: light beers don’t taste very good, a result of sacrificing flavor for a lower alcohol percentage to appease casual drinkers or those who liked to tear through a six-pack while watching the game. It seemed as if there were no way to enjoy the flavor of a drink without the drawback of too much booze.


The massive popularity of hard seltzers entering the alcohol industry has solved this problem for many drinkers, and the numbers are backing this up. Let’s take a look at one of the top-selling hard seltzer brands: BON V!V (formerly Bon & Viv). From their website: “To create the light, refreshing taste of BON V!V, we use simple, select ingredients—purified water, champagne yeast, and natural fruit flavors. That’s it! That’s what gets us to our perfect 4.5% ABV. No barley or wheat—we’re totally gluten free. And only 90 calories? We’ll cheers to that!”

Having a 4.5% ABV puts BON V!V’s hard seltzers at less than your average beer and virtually the same as a light beer. The difference lies in the flavor, with the brand boasting delicious varieties like Pear Elderflower, Coconut Pineapple, and Clementine Hibiscus. Add the low calorie count and gluten free aspect and it’s clear why hard seltzers have taken the alcohol industry by storm. Drinkers no longer have to sacrifice flavor for a refreshing and crisp low-percentage drink, and that’s a good thing.

James Granatowski
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