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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Hard Seltzer Brand?

You will need to invest around $300,000 to $1 million to start a hard seltzer brand; however, note that the exact amount will depend on factors that will be discussed below.

Keep in mind that a good portion of your startup funding will be used to source quality ingredients, put in place manufacturing facilities or align with a co-packer, acquire all requisite licenses and permits, as well as come up with alluring packaging and labeling.

In addition to that, a good percentage of your startup investments will go towards marketing and distribution to cultivate brand recognition and ensure you achieve success in such a crowded market.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Opening a Hard Seltzer Brand

  1. Production and Manufacturing

This includes things like sourcing quality ingredients such as water, alcohol base, and natural flavors. Aside from that, you will also have to choose if you would like to design your own manufacturing facility or work with an established co-packer.

Note that developing your own production facility will further heighten your startup investment, especially in terms of purchasing the needed equipment, acquiring or leasing the facility, in addition to labor expenses. Working with a co-packer will minimize upfront costs but will necessitate higher per-unit costs.

According to experts, the production cost that comes with starting this business will fall around $100,000 to $500,000, depending on the size and complexity of operations.

  1. Licensing and Regulatory Compliance

In this line of business, you must conform fully with all stipulated federal, state, and local regulations. However, note that doing so doesn’t come cheap and will take up a good part of your startup funds.

You will be expected to obtain a wide range of licenses, like a Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) permit, state alcohol permits, as well as health and safety certifications.

Note that these licenses will warrant some fees and processing times, depending on your location as well as the size of your business.

You will as well be expected to comply with labeling and advertising standards stipulated by agencies such as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

It is recommended you budget around $10,000 and $50,000 for everything that comes with licensing and regulatory compliance.

  1. Branding and Packaging

The competition in the industry can be quite daunting, as such it is imperative you make the right investment, especially in terms of branding and packaging to further guarantee business success.

This can include the expenses that come with designing logos, coming up with a brand narrative, as well as developing visually attractive packaging. Aside from that, take into account the expenses that come with creating the right packaging for your products.

This will depend on the choice of materials (e.g., cans, labels, boxes) as well as the volume of production runs. It is nevertheless important you invest in top-grade design and packaging to further boost product appeal.

This will indeed take up a chunk of your startup funding. Owing to that, it is recommended you budget around $50,000 to $150,000 for branding and packaging expenses.

  1. Marketing and Distribution

Do not undervalue the importance of marketing and distribution to the general success of your hard seltzer brand. Leverage the right strategies to ensure that you can build awareness and draw in a good number of consumers.

This will feature strategies like digital marketing, social media campaigns, influencer partnerships, as well as traditional advertising channels.

The expenses that come with distribution will encompass cultivating solid relationships with distributors, coordinating logistics, and negotiating shelf space with retailers. These are very important expenses you will need to make, especially within the early stages of your business.

To be sure you put in place a formidable strategy that will guarantee business success, it is recommended you budget around $100,000 to $300,000 for a comprehensive marketing and distribution strategy.

  1. Research and Development (R&D)

In this line of business, you will need to invest in R&D to ensure that you can come up with products that will guarantee business success especially when it comes to its taste, quality, and uniqueness. As such, you will need to invest in things like recipe formulation, flavor testing, as well as pilot production runs.

While it will further increase your initial investment, it is recommended you leverage the expertise of a well-experienced food scientist or consultant to refine the product and guarantee it aligns with safety and quality standards.

Aside from that, it is recommended you take your time to carry out well-detailed market research to fully comprehend consumer preferences as well as industry trends that could favour your business. Nevertheless, it is recommended you budget around $20,000 to $100,000 for R&D.