Pilsner Urquell to launch new hard seltzer Viper across Europe

Viper, a new brand of hard seltzer from parent company Asahi, will be brewed at Pilsner Urquell's Czech facilities for distribution across Europe

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 27.02.2021 15:01 (updated on 27.02.2021)

Viper, a new brand of hard seltzer from beer giant Asahi, will be launched across European markets later this year. It will be brewed by Asahi subsidiary Pilsner Urquell in the Czech Republic for distribution across the continent.

The new brand follows a trend in low-calorie alcoholic seltzer drinks that has become increasingly popular, especially in the United States, in recent years.

Pilsner Urquell will brew Viper from sparkling water, alcohol, and natural flavorings, with no artificial sweeteners. It will be available in lime and cranberry varieties.

Viper will contain 4% alcohol content, roughly the same as an average beer. However, one third-liter can or bottle of Viper will have 96 calories, considerably less than an a comparable amount of beer.

Viper hard seltzer via Asahi
Viper hard seltzer via Asahi

The new beverage is slated to launch across select European markets, including Netherlands and Hungary, from March. Despite being brewed in the Czech Republic, Viper will launch on the Czech market at a later date in 2021, yet to be confirmed.

"Hard seltzer has been hugely popular in America for some time and has now made the switch to Europe," Viper Netherlands Brand Manager Yara Pelzer stated in a press release.

"We would like to connect with this trend. Viper tastes refreshingly like sparkling water with a hint of lime or cranberry flavour, but has a surprising 'bite' due to the presence of 4% alcohol. Especially for a generation that consciously wants to enjoy."

Viper hard seltzer via Asahi
Viper hard seltzer via Asahi

Pilsner Urquell, which has been brewed since 1842, is one of the Czech Republic's most iconic brands. In recent decades, the brewer has expanded their alcoholic non-beer brands to Frisco and Kingswood hard ciders.

The famed Czech beer brand was purchased by Asahi in 2016 after SABMiller, Pilsner's former parent company, was taken over by AB InBev. Before the takeover, SABMiller had to divest some of its assets, including Pilsner, to comply with EU antitrust laws.

First brewed in 2013, hard seltzer has become a sensation in the United States, with estimated sales of $2.5 billion last year. It has also been a hit on the Canadian and Australian markets.

Viper isn't the first brand of hard seltzer to hit the Czech market. Craft brewery Obora launched a tangerine-flavored seltzer earlier this year.