Borsodi launches WAI Moment Hard Seltzer in Hungary
György Spiegel, Marketing Director of the Borsodi Brewery.
Borsodi Brewery Marketing Director György Spiegel talks to the Budapest Business Journal about the introduction of his hard seltzer to the Hungarian market and beer innovations.
BBJ: Hard Seltzer is a relatively new type of alcoholic beverage, which has gained considerable popularity in the United States over the past decade. What is behind the decision to expand Borsodi’s portfolio beyond beers?
György Spiegel: Before launching a whole new category of drinks in Hungary, we closely followed market developments locally, in the EEC region and globally. We have seen that hard soda has become one of the most popular alcoholic beverage categories for Americans in the global beverage market. Molson Coors, the parent company of Borsodi Brewery, has recently started to introduce seltzer water to its portfolio, with great success, in countries like the US and UK. It is now time to present it in the EEC after a thorough assessment of the local specificities of the market. In Hungary, we have seen a new wave of consumers with an experimental attitude who are enthusiastically discovering new products. So we decided to go beyond beer and introduce this new category. Hard soda water is a type of alcoholic beverage that contains carbonated water, alcohol, and often a fruit flavor. The alcohol volume is 4-6%, and the calorie content is about 100 kcal per can. Our WAI Moment is less than 99 kcal per can, has exceptional quality, and natural, delicious flavors.
BBJ: What are Borsodi’s business expectations and who is the target audience?
GyS: In markets where products have already been introduced, the hard seltzer has generated 200% growth over the past two years. We hope that the category will develop in the same way in Central and Eastern Europe in the years to come. Hard Seltzer is a new lifestyle drink for a new generation of urban, active adults who love to stay fit and are looking for exciting drinks that match their busy yet fun lifestyle.
BBJ: What is the feedback about WAI Moment so far? Do consumers have a favorite flavor?
GyS: We launched three really different flavors of WAI Moment in May that satisfy different tastes called “Minty Lime Time”, “Tropical Crew” and “Crazy Berries”. Although only two months have passed since its introduction, we can say that all three products seem to be popular so far.
BBJ: When it comes to your more traditional beer category, the brewery has seen a large-scale portfolio expansion over the past few years. To what extent have these new products made it possible to introduce Borsodi to new audiences and to revamp the brand’s image?
GyS: The experiences of the last few years have shown that our consumers are more and more open to new tastes and ready to experiment. Based on this feedback, we decided to launch last year the first two members of our new “democratic” craft portfolio, Borsodi Hoppy and Borsodi IPA. Our first experiences have been positive and the comments of consumers and professionals have been appreciated. As a result, we have decided to further expand the portfolio with ale-type beers, thereby strengthening and even introducing the Borsodi brand to new audiences, while meeting the ever-changing needs of our existing customers.
BBJ: Can we expect the launch of a new addition to the beer portfolio or a limited edition this summer?
GyS: In time for the summer sporting events, we launched a limited edition of our Borsodi lager with various limited edition promotional packages, featuring different superstitions from sports fans. Consumers can find them while supplies last. Also, we have prepared the reopening of terraces and bars across the country and hope that more people will have the chance to have a good time with their friends accompanied by a pint of Borsodi. We have launched the latest member of the Borsodi Friss portfolio, a 0.0% alcohol-free beer with a pear and apple flavor.
Borsodi Sörgyár Rt. Started brewing beer in 1973 in the village of Bőcs, near Miskolc (187 km northeast of Budapest by road). Privatized after the fall of communism, it was bought in 1993 by the Belgian Interbrew (now Anheuser-Busch InBev SA / NV). In mid-October 2009, private equity fund CVC Capital Partners bought out all of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s stakes in Central Europe, including Borsodi, for € 2.23 billion and renamed the operation StarBev. In 2012, the StarBev group was acquired by its current owners Molson Coors Beverage Company, the American-Canadian company which is the fifth largest brewer in the world.
This article first appeared in the print issue of the Budapest Business Journal on July 2, 2021.