Food & Drink Brand Strategy Alcohol

Learning from the best-performing hard seltzer and low-calorie drink brands

By Amber van de Sande, Creative account manager



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

Find out more

February 14, 2022 | 5 min read

For marketers that don’t want to advertise no or low alcohol, the hard seltzer and low-calorie drinks industry is the next best thing. Paradise's creative account manager Amber van de Sande continues their series with a review of two hard seltzer offerings. Go back and read articles one and two in the series.


Paradise talk to two hard seltzer brands to find out about their marketing approaches.

Hard seltzer and low-calorie drink brands have started to emerge at festivals and other events, giving people an alternative with fewer calories. 78% of 18-to-35-year-olds are more aware of the calories in their alcoholic drinks, meaning they are looking for alternatives that are a better fit with their lifestyle. This awareness is up more than 30% compared to 2012.

As a result, low-cal alternatives are slowly making their mark in the UK, following the surge in no and low brands. The sector is steadily booming as more consumers understand and inform themselves about sugar, carbohydrate and fat content.

We caught up with two low-cal hard seltzer brands to find out about their marketing approaches.

High Water

High Water came to life when founder Nick Britton traded in 15 years at Danone Waters and Diageo to start his own business. After gaining extensive experience inthe beverage industry, he thought, “I know booze, I know water and hard seltzers are basically boozy water”.

This started the journey of High Water, in the midst of the pandemic. Britton has spent the past 18 months creating the ultimate hard seltzer.

He continues: “There's this real gap for a tasty, but lower calorie, alternative alcoholic drink, and that's what a hard seltzer is. Do people want something tasty and delicious? Yes. So, one of the things from my perspective was if people are making this choice to choose a lower calorie drink, then I wanted to make sure that it was a liquid of the highest quality that they were drinking, without compromising on anything. High Water is made with natural flavours, triple distilled vodka, and Cotswold spring water. There are no preservatives, there are no sweeteners, we actually only sweeten our product with a small bit of fruit juice.

“High Water is about celebrating the best of life at the waters edge, whether being lucky enough to actually be there, or just enjoying the can designs and imagining you are there. “


Vodka soda brand, &SODA, is made from triple distilled vodka, sparkling water and natural fruit flavours. It's also vegan, gluten-free and only contains 90 calories.

The brand is transparent about the product, calorie-quantity and premium proposition as well as a slick design.

Hebe Howorth, brand manager of &SODA said: “At &SODA, one of our key brand pillars is creativity and collaboration. We're founded by designers. We want to promote and collaborate with young artists, makers, designers, and that's essentially our whole product. When you look at our can, it's quite unique compared to most alcoholic RTD’s. We thought it was very important to be completely inclusive and open to everyone, most RTD’s come in skinny cans and we wanted to create an agenda neutral one. Same goes for our logo, the ampersand is about inclusion and having everyone enjoy whatever they want to drink.

“People nowadays, especially Gen Z and millennials, want to see what a product is and get clear communication. They want to see brands who have a purpose, a story, with a clear message. &SODA is all about championing talent and creativity. We’ve worked with some amazing artists and have loads more in the pipeline for cool collaborations."

To the future

As the no and low and health-focused low calorie alcoholic drink landscape grows, it has never been more important for new and existing brands to put the consumers at the heart of all communications.

As we’ve seen, there are many ways to champion the shift in trend and to tap into a demand for more healthy drinking that the younger audience is demanding – either by leading with a refreshing content angle, or by embedding their brand within this new experience and culture-led narrative.

To capitalize on this movement and drive commercial success, Paradise believes brands need to clearly communicate their values, be bang in the centre of the culture, have stand-out creative and a well-developed tone of voice across all comms and content. This will help them to entertain their audience at all moments, channels and buying stages.

If you’re looking to create a brand narrative that will talk directly to your market’s language, contact us for our tried and tested method.

Food & Drink Brand Strategy Alcohol

Content by The Drum Network member:


Paradise London is an independent fully-integrated creative agency dedicated to enhancing, connecting and refining brands worldwide.

Find out more

More from Food & Drink

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +