Share article:
Share article:

Concern as AB InBev launches hard seltzers in Belgium

© AB InBev

Health and addiction organisations have expressed concern at the decision by brewing giant AB InBev to launch its range of so-called ‘hard seltzers’ in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Hard seltzers are basically sparkling water to which alcohol and fruit flavour have been added. The brand – Mike’s Hard Seltzer – is already on sale in the United States and the United Kingdom. The alcohol level is held at 5% ABV, or slightly more than the average pils, and the drink is sold in 33cl cans.

In Belgium, the law forbids the sale of any drink containing more than 0.5% alcohol to anyone under 16, and bans the sale of distilled alcohol to those aged 16-18. Publicity for the InBev drinks states the alcohol is “brewed”, which may make it available to the older group.

In any event, the Flemish Expertise Centre for Alcohol and other Drugs (VAD) has expressed concern at the arrival of the product on the market, and in particular the aggressive marketing behind the launch.

To begin with, the name ‘hard seltzer’ is aggressive enough. On the drinks’ British website, meanwhile, the company states, “It’s like alcoholic sparkling water, because that’s exactly what it is,” and “Don’t overthink it”.

We want to be a company that brings all people together, not just beer people,” said Elise Dickinson, marketing manager for hard seltzers at AB InBev. “Hard seltzers are an integral part of that. The demand for the drinks is also starting to increase in Europe. AB InBev is well-placed to help retailers enter this booming market.”

The VAD sees the expansion into the European market in a less humanitarian light.

This is a drink with which InBev is specifically looking for a new target group: young people under 18 who do not like beer,” said Katleen Peleman of VAD.

The different fruit flavours also make it very enticing. This is yet another sign that the legislation gives the industry far too many opportunities to encourage young people from the age of 16 to drink alcohol.”

Latest news

Belgian Health Minister wants pharmacists to administer vaccines
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has said he wants to change Belgium's law to allow pharmacists to administer Covid-19 vaccines against, ...
Ruined photos from flood victims restored for free
Much of what victims of this summer’s deadly flooding lost is irreplaceable, but when it comes to photographs that were ruined, a Brussels company is ...
New Belgian video game aims to help children who stutter
A new video game by Belgian-American start-up Say It Labs aims to teach children with a stutter various techniques to improve their speech.  ...
More than 1 in 4 Belgians use mobile phones whilst driving
A recent European study into the use of mobile phones whilst driving highlights some alarming results: 26% of Belgians read or send messages on their ...
Belgium in Brief: Memories Of Masks
Belgium's experts are concerned with the rising coronavirus figures. One possible solution could be that, once again, masks are used more widely. ...
Museum Night Fever returns to Brussels on Saturday night
After a break last year, Museum Night Fever 2021 is back again with free visits to 32 museums hosting performances, music and other events. The ...
More than €1.5 billion injected into SNCB
More than €1.5 billion in additional funding has been injected into the Belgian railways, Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet told the House ...
Non-vaccinated applicants no longer welcome at ZNA hospitals in Antwerp
The Antwerp hospital group ZNA is only taking on new employees who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to reporting from VRT. ...
Pharmacies prepare to administer more rapid antigen tests
From November, anyone presenting coronavirus symptoms for less than six days will be able to take a rapid antigen test in a pharmacy, announced the ...
Chocolate, Christmas, and cocaine
Do you consider yourself a news buff? Someone constantly on top of what's going on? Then maybe you have what it takes to ace The Brussels Times ...
Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have led to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...