North East Connected

Allendale Brewery toasts success of new ‘Hard Seltzer’

RIDE, the first hard seltzer (fruit-infused alcoholic sparkling water) 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 now 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’s reputation 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 really hard getting the taste right, the brand right, everything, and then Coronavirus hit and suddenly 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 selling it online; we knew there was a big market out there and we wanted to get on with it.

Now, two 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. We had no idea it would catch on so quickly.

“We chose the name RIDE because it stands for everything we want the brand to be. A Ride is exciting, fun, health-focused and enjoyable; to appeal to a new generation of drinkers who are enthusiastic about being at the forefront of new trends.”

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 former 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.”

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