A refreshing change

Hard seltzers are the new big thing in drinks, and the only one fully made and canned in Britain is on our doorstep

Assuming you’re in with the in-crowd, you will know by now that hard seltzers, beloved by Americans, are our new big thing.

Light, low-calorie refreshing, hard seltzer is fruit-infused alcoholic sparkling water, and RIDE, the first hard seltzer fully made and canned in Britain, has hit international markets less than two months after its lockdown launch by the husband-and-wife owners of Northumberland-based Allendale Brewery.

In a complete change from their internationally award-winning craft ales, RIDE creators Lucy and Tom Hick have smashed sales targets with their new product – a refreshing blend of alcoholic sparkling water and natural fruit flavours.

A few weeks since their lockdown launch, they are distributing RIDE through shops and pubs nationwide and exporting to Japan, Norway and the Republic of Ireland. They are also set to sign deals with distributors in Sweden and the Cayman Islands, following the rapid rise of the brand on social media.

RIDE is hand-crafted to Lucy and Tom’s own recipes and appeals to a fast-growing market seeking a healthier, lower calorie alternative to other alcoholic drinks.

Having heard about the meteoric rise of alcoholic fruit-infused sparkling drinks from friends in the US, where hard seltzers are the fastest-growing drinks sector, Lucy and Tom were inspired to set about making their own, experimenting with flavours in the kitchen of their home in Riding Mill, Northumberland.

Then, just as they had the perfect blend of natural ingredients, lockdown hit. “We’d worked hard getting the taste right, the brand right, everything, and then Coronavirus hit and we found ourselves facing up to launching a new brand just as pubs and shops shut,” says Lucy. “We considered delaying but decided to go ahead online; we knew there was a big market out there and we wanted to get on with it.

Now, three months after its lockdown launch, RIDE’s reputation has spread nationally and internationally. “We’ve been completely blown away by its popularity,” says Lucy. “The name suits it – it’s gathering speed by itself; a couple of people try it, and word spreads to thousands. They love the fresh taste, the natural fruit flavours, and the fact that it is lighter and lower in alcohol than wine or spirits. It’s incredibly exciting to see such huge growth in the UK and it’s unprecedented in our experience to be exporting so rapidly.”

The all-natural RIDE formula – which is artificial sweetener-free, low carbohydrate, low calorie, gluten-free and vegan – is hand-crafted in small batches, canned on-site, and made
with all-UK ingredients. Its unique balance of fresh, natural flavours and ingredients is refreshing, delicious, 4% alcohol and contains just 86 calories per sleek 330ml can. 

Also available in pubs on draft, it is made at a Victorian lead-smelting mill on the banks of the River Allen in the North Pennines, home of the international award-winning Allendale Brewery, which Tom founded in 2004. 

In four natural fruit flavours – Mango & Passionfruit, Black Cherry, Blood Orange, and Persian Lime – Lucy and Tom spent months researching flavours and formulas in their kitchen until they found their own perfect blend. 

“We spent many evenings tasting different flavours at home until we got it just right,” says Lucy. “We didn’t want to use anything artificial, and we got there in the end – a great-tasting, refreshing, natural drink. We’ve never seen a product grow so quickly in popularity. 

“Demand at home and abroad is just unprecedented. And all from a lockdown launch. It’s amazing.”

Blueberry gin seltzer

Serves 2

50ml Luxardo
50ml gin
juice of 1 lime
scoop raspberry sorbet
handful blueberries
4 glazed cherries
ice cubes
RIDE black cherry

Mix everything apart from the RIDE in a cocktail shaker (or for a smoother taste in a Nutri Bullet).Strain into a fancy glass and top with RIDE Black Cherry.

Raspberry gin seltzer

Serves 2

Large handful raspberries
2 tsp honey
juice from 1 lime
8 mint leaves
50ml gin
RIDE Blood Orange

Combine ingredients except RIDE in a jug, stir to break down raspberries. Top with RIDE Blood Orange seltzer to your taste.

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