What Is Hard Seltzer?
Hard Seltzer is experiencing a rise in popularity thanks to health-conscious consumers. Easier access to dietary information has led to consumers becoming increasingly aware of their nutritional needs and purchasing decisions are no longer just based on taste, but on health factors too. With a low-calorie count and a reduced alcohol content of between 4-5%, hard seltzer is attracting health-conscious men and women of all ages. Often gluten-free, it provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages. The product's broad appeal continues to drive sales, with market research company IWSR forecasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9% through 2030.
The Challenge of Filtering Hard Seltzer
The base product of hard seltzer is usually from neutral spirits, wine, malt or sugar. While there is some variation among hard seltzers, most are clear, colorless beverages. But achieving a colorless, flavorless base is a crucial step that poses considerable challenges:
- Hard seltzer can be hazy and have a slight color after fermentation.
- Fermentation by-products can negatively affect flavor and odor.
- Traditional Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) beds, although effective at decolorization, odor and trace impurity removal, are labor intensive, have a long contact time, and have significant cleaning costs.
- The process is receptive to spoilage microorganisms and creates new and different yeast and bacteria issues
Each of these factors influences the taste profile of hard seltzer. Therefore, the selection of the right filtration technology is crucial.
Flavor & Microbial Stabilization
Before color removal, a clarification step will remove yeast, haze and other solids that might be present. Filtration of various bases is possible with Pall's SUPRA lenticular module solutions or crossflow filtration systems.
Pall’s SUPRApak™ lenticular modules are the latest development in sheet-based filtration. The modules have a filter area higher than most lenticular modules and a unique flow configuration that maximizes filtration and adsorption.
Whether it's for larger production facilities specializing in hard seltzer or an established beverage producer wanting to produce hard seltzer, Pall's OenoflowTM system for wine PROFi system for beer can clarify hard seltzer.
Having only low amounts of carbohydrates, sugars, alcohol and protein levels means that developing the right taste profile can be a challenge with hard seltzer. Typically, the desired flavor is introduced via dosing technology. In addition, Pall’s final filtration solutions offer very high microbial safety by having proven reduction rates for spoilers. Research also shows that not using heat and pasteurization technology for microbiological stability will be advantageous for the carefully adjusted flavor of the seltzer product. In addition to individual housings, CFS NEO can be applied as a whole system solution before packaging to achieve microbial stabilization. With the PARE cartridge filter family, Pall provides a selection of specifically developed pre and final filters matching the individual demands of the products and microbial challenges.
The SUPRA product range comprises SUPRApak and SUPRAdisc to be advantageously applied for depth filtration applications and the SUPRA AKS range, where activated carbon is used as immobilized carbon media to effectively adjust color and aroma of the hard seltzer product.
Contact our experts today to discuss the right hard seltzer filtration solution for you.