Borsodi Debuts WAI Moment Hard Seltzer in Hungary

Interview

György Spiegel, marketing director of Borsodi Brewery.

Borsodi Brewery marketing director György Spiegel talks to the Budapest Business Journal about introducing its hard seltzer to the Hungarian market and beer innovations.

BBJ: Hard seltzer is a relatively new type of alcoholic drink, which has earned considerable popularity in the United States over the past decade. What lies behind the decision to expand Borsodi’s portfolio beyond beers?

György Spiegel: Before launching a brand-new beverage category in Hungary, we were thoroughly monitoring the market developments locally, in the CEE region, and globally. We could see that hard seltzers have become one of the most popular alcoholic drink categories for Americans in the global beverage market. Molson Coors, the parent company of Borsodi Brewery, has recently begun to introduce the hard seltzer to its portfolio, with great success, in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. It is now time to present it in the CEE after a thorough assessment of the local specifics of the market. In Hungary, we could see the forming of a new wave of consumers with an experimental attitude who enthusiastically discover new products. So, we have decided to go beyond beer and introduce this new category. Hard seltzer is a type of alcoholic beverage containing carbonated water, alcohol, and often a fruit aroma. The alcohol volume is 4- 6%, and the calorie content is about 100 kcal per can. Our WAI Moment is under 99 kcal per can, has exceptional quality and natural, delicious flavors.

BBJ: What are Borsodi's sales expectations, and who is the target audience?

GyS: In markets where the products have already been introduced, the hard seltzer has generated 200% growth in the last two years. We hope that the category will expand similarly in CEE in the coming years. Hard seltzer is a fresh new lifestyle drink for a new generation of urban, working adult folk who love to stay in shape and look for exciting beverages that fit their busy yet fun-loving lifestyle.

BBJ: What is the feedback regarding WAI Moment so far? Do consumers have a favorite flavor?

GyS: We launched three really different flavors of WAI Moment in May, which 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: In terms of your more traditional beer category, the brewery has been going through a large-scale portfolio expansion in the last few years. To what extent did these new products help introduce Borsodi to new audiences and revamp the brand’s image?

GyS: The experiences of recent years have shown that our consumers are more and more open to new tastes and willing to experiment. Based on this feedback, we decided to launch the first two members of our new “democratic” craft portfolio last year, Borsodi Hoppy and Borsodi IPA. Our first experiences have been positive, and consumer and professional feedback have been appreciative. As a result, we decided to expand the portfolio further with ale-type beers, thus strengthening and even introducing the Borsodi brand to new audiences, as well as serving the ever-changing needs of our existing customers. 

BBJ: Can we expect the debut of a new addition to the beer portfolio or a limited edition this summer?

GyS: In time for the summer sports events, we have launched a limited edition of our Borsodi lager beer with diverse, limited edition promotional packages, presenting different superstitions of sports fans. Consumers can find them while stocks last. Also, we have been preparing for the reopening of terraces and bars across the country and hope that more people will have the chance to enjoy a nice time with their friends accompanied by a pint of Borsodi. We have launched the newest member of the Borsodi Friss portfolio, a 0.0% non-alcoholic beer in pear and apple flavor.

Borsodi Box

Borsodi Sörgyár Rt. began brewing beer in 1973 in  the village of Bőcs, near Miskolc (187 km northeast of Budapest by road). Privatized after the collapse of communism, it was purchased in 1993 by Belgium’s Interbrew (today Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV). In mid-October 2009, private equity fund CVC Capital Partners bought all of Anheuser–Busch InBev’s holdings in Central Europe, including Borsodi, for EUR 2.23 billion and renamed the operation StarBev. In 2012, the StarBev Group was taken over by its current owners Molson Coors Beverage Company, the American-Canadian firm which is the fifth-biggest brewer globally.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of July 2, 2021.

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