Is Hard Seltzer Healthier than Beer or Wine?

Two glasses of sparkling water with lemon slices

Sales of hard seltzer have skyrocketed in recent years as many consumers look for an alcoholic beverage that’s on the lighter side. With a wide variety of flavors to choose from, there’s a spiked seltzer option to suit almost any palate. But is hard seltzer healthier than beer, wine, or other options? Here, Columbia Distributing examines the benefits of hard seltzer.

What Is Hard Seltzer?

Sometimes called soda water or fizzy water, seltzer is simply carbonated water. The addition of carbon dioxide gives a can of seltzer its distinctive bubbles and fizz. Thus, hard seltzer is alcoholic soda water. Most hard seltzers on the market today are between 4% and 5% alcohol by volume (ABV), though some have a higher ABV. Many hard seltzers have added natural flavors or fruit juice concentrate for a subtle aroma or taste.

Benefits of Choosing Hard Seltzer

While hard seltzers have been around for a while, they have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many major brands introducing dedicated lines of spiked seltzers. Consumers love these fizzy drinks for a variety of reasons:

Lower Calorie Count

If you’re trying to watch your caloric intake, hard seltzer can help. It tends to have fewer calories and less sugar than mixed drinks, beer, or hard cider. Most hard seltzers have about 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates in a 12-ounce can. In contrast, a beer of about the same size has about 150 calories and 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates.

Minimal Ingredients

A can of hard seltzer usually has a very basic ingredient list: just water, sugar, yeast, and fruit flavorings. This makes spiked seltzer a great choice for anyone with sensitivities to the ingredients in other alcoholic beverages, such as the tannins in red wine that can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Low in Sugar

A spiked seltzer’s refreshing fruit essences can remind you of your favorite cocktails, like a margarita or a cosmopolitan. But when you choose hard seltzer instead of these mixed drinks, you will enjoy a lower ABV and are less likely to end up with a stomachache or headache. Many cocktails are high in sugar, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Since most hard seltzers have just a couple of grams of sugar, they’re unlikely to upset your stomach.


Unlike a traditional mixed drink that combines soda water with a spirit like gin or vodka, hard seltzer is just that: seltzer with alcohol. Spiked seltzer is typically made with fermented cane sugars. In contrast, beer or spirits such as whiskey are made with fermented grains. This means that hard seltzer tends to have a lower alcohol content. And since it’s not made with grains, it’s gluten-free. For individuals who are gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease, this makes hard seltzer an appealing choice.

Of course, consumers need to be careful of the “health halo” effect. Even though hard seltzer is refreshing, it’s still an alcoholic beverage. Just because it may be a low-calorie choice doesn’t mean you should drink it in excess. And when you’re enjoying a spiked seltzer out at your favorite restaurant or bar, always have a designated driver to ensure you and your loved ones get home safely.

Hard Seltzer Brands to Try

Hard seltzer is light and refreshing, making it a great choice any time of year, but especially during the summer. If you’re new to the world of seltzer, try out one of the hard seltzer flavors from these leading brands.

To put a twist on your favorite spiked seltzer, try adding a dash of fruit juice, a sprig of mint, or a slice of lemon or lime.

Shop Hard Seltzers at Columbia Distributing

At Columbia Distributing, we offer a wide selection of hard seltzers for businesses in the Pacific Northwest. With our extensive selection, unparalleled customer service, and more than 80 years of experience in distributing, you’ll see why more than 20,000 retail businesses in Oregon, Washington, and California use us as their beverage distributor of choice. For more information about hard seltzer and the other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages we offer, contact us today.