A spirited contest is now under way for local leadership in the fastest-growing liquor category worldwide – hard seltzers.Last week Remgro-controlled liquor giant Distell launched its Vawter hard seltzer range, soon after brewing giant AB InBev’s launch of Flying Fish hard seltzer. Distell has, in recent years, been criticised by certain shareholders for being slow to latch onto new beverage trends.The reviving of the Vawter brand — it was originally launched as a vodka-flavoured sparkling water — should mute some of that criticism. Further brand development and brand extensions into the hard seltzer category seem likely in the months ahead.The hard seltzer market is still in its infancy in SA, but the global market was valued at over $4bn in 2019. It is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% from 2020 to 2027, when the market should reach $14.5bn.The trend to hard seltzers comes in the wake of changing drinking habits over the past few years. Tipplers have increasi...

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