Determination of alcohol content in Hard Seltzers

Hard seltzer, a low-calorie and low-carbohydrate alcoholic drink, currently represents one of the trendiest alternatives in the beverage industry. In order to ensure that the alcohol content is correctly deducted from the tax, an accurate measurement is required. This document informs you about proven instruments that are capable of meeting this challenge.

Legal requirements

Since the alcohol content of hard seltzers is always above 0.5 % v/v, the product is considered as an alcoholic beverage and therefore subject to different laws and regulations. This makes an accurate alcohol and extract determination necessary.

Hard seltzer producers need to be compliant to national authorities before sending their products to market. It is of utmost importance to avoid false label declarations with subsequent heavy fines.

Alcohol measurement in Hard Seltzers

There is a choice of different methods to determine the ethanol content in beverages such as hard seltzers. Official acknowledged reference methods are represented either by a head space gas chromatography or classic distillation. Such methods are time consuming and require skilled personnel. The aim of this study was to investigate whether other analytical methods are equally suitable for a reliable measurement of the ethanol content in hard seltzers.

For this purpose, a total of 16 different hard seltzer samples from various producers in several different countries were analyzed. The verification test was performed using the following three methods:

  • Distillation followed by density measurement,
  • Beer Analyzing System
  • PBA 5001 Beer

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