In the USA and in South America, a new fashionable drink has been on the rise for some time: Hard Seltzer – sparkling water with flavour and alcohol. In the meantime, more and more European and German customers are developing a taste for this low-calorie drink.
sera has been a reliable partner to the beverage industry for decades and its products always ensure consistent quality of a wide variety of products – now, with Hard Seltzer, sera has already succeeded in supplying more than 50 pumps and dosing systems, which now produce this high-quality in-drink in cooperation with international plant manufacturers.
In 2020, the biggest beverage trend to hit the US in years is „Hard Seltzer“ – also known as fizzy alcoholic water. Hard Seltzer was the big success story of the beverage industry in the year of Corona – sales in the USA increased by 200% within 12 months. Experts predict equally impressive growth for this indrink over the next three years. Neither consumers nor beverage producers could get past Hard Seltzer. Even in 2019, there were festivals dedicated to it, blogs inspired by it and even the biggest brand, White Claw, recorded a supply shortage, leaving thirsty millennials panicking.
Hard Seltzer („hard sparkling water“) by definition consists of sparkling water, alcohol and sometimes – not always – added fruit flavour. Here, however, water is not simply mixed with a spirit; in fact, Hard Seltzer is a fermented, brewed product. Hard Seltzer is produced in almost all regions of the world based on fermentation alcohol. The raw material used is predominantly a malt or sugar base. The base obtained from fermentation is then purified via membrane filtration and mixed with fruit aromas. A rather complex process made possible by products from sera. In an extensive process, in which pumps from sera are also deployed, a finished Hard Seltzer product, i.e. a „water“ with approx. 5% vol. alcohol and flavour, is produced from a wide variety of components at the end.
sera supplies hygienic pumps for the dosing of dyes and multi-layer diaphragm pumps for the dosing of high-proof alcohols (due to Ex-requirements) for the production of Hard Seltzer products, partly according to the American regulation Nema Claas 1 Division 2. These pumps dose the corresponding components – dyes and alcohols – with the highest precision. Since the systems have to map or feed different products and outputs, there are sometimes large spreads at the individual dosing points. Therefore, the dosing areas are designed with two pumps to serve the entire metering area with high quality and accuracy.
As is the case everywhere in beverage production, one of the most important points is the cleaning (CIP – Cleaning in Place) of the entire system and, of course, of each individual pump and dosing point – sera dosing systems are also used here. Here, the 2% acids, alkalis and disinfectants commonly used in CIP cleaning are used for rinsing at up to 90 degrees Celsius, for approx. 15-20 minutes. It is essential that the entire production system is compatible with CIP requirements. In other words, all the parts that have to be cleaned are food-safe. Aseptic and technical sterilisation specifications must be observed in this context. The geometry of the individual parts and of the entire structure must be designed in such a way that no dead spaces are created and that all surfaces can be covered at an appropriate flow speed during CIP. CIP-compatible diaphragm pumps from sera meet these specifications: Seals and connections are standardised according to DIN industry standards, while the pump body and all other materials that come into contact with the fluid are electropolished.
The chemicals needed for cleaning are stored in IBCs, drums or tanks in liquid form. The sera CVD compact dosing system doses the chemicals into fresh water in such a way that the cleaning agent or disinfectant required has the perfect concentration and can be added directly to the cleaning process. Some users also deploy the sera caustic soda preparation station, which ensures the safe and efficient preparation of caustic soda based on sodium hydroxide (NaOH) in solid form (pellets, flakes, beads or powder) and water.
Centec, sera’s long-standing partner, has also relied on sera’s expertise in the design of plants for Hard Seltzer production and equipped their systems with the appropriate pumps. These are now in use at many well-known beverage manufacturers and ensure that the on-trend drink Hard Seltzer can always be produced reliably in consistent quality.
sera may not be able to turn water into wine – but into a really delicious refreshment that everyone should try.