Hard FIZZ seltzer taps the NFT trend

Queensland seltzer brand Hard FIZZ is collaborating with Salty Pirate Crew to hook into the NFT craze.

Sydney-based NFT agency Salty Pirate Crew and marketing agency No Standing will work with Hard FIZZ to release a new pirate-themed flavour.

Salty Pirate Crew dropped its first collection of 3000 NFTs in early February, selling out in just two hours. Some of the initial supporters are NRL stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker and electronic music project, What So Not. Hard FIZZ owner and TV chef Hayden Quinn has also invested.

Hard FIZZ CEO Wade Tiller said it’s about setting sail into the so called “metaverse” before a flotilla of other seltzer brands beat them to it.

“Hard seltzer itself is a bit of a trend in the beverage industry so it’s in our DNA to jump on ideas and concepts before they go mainstream,” Tiller explained.

“The Salty Pirate Crew NFT project allows us to go hard at a market we genuinely think would enjoy Hard FIZZ – and it’s a bit of fun along the way. To be really clear, Hard FIZZ isn’t doing an NFT – at least not yet anyway. What we’re doing is partnering with a community that already numbers in excess of 5000, and that’s exciting.

“For us, as a brand, it’s about dipping our toes into the NFT water and bringing some exclusive, tangible elements to Salty Pirate Crew members – and the new flavour will be part of that.”

“NFT” is the hot new buzzword for drinks marketing in 2022 and everyone wants a piece of the action. Penfolds, Patrón and Hennessy all launched NFTs with BlockBar last month, a leading non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace for luxury wine and spirits products.

Wondering what an NFT is? Here’s a brief explanation from by Wikipedia: “A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger (blockchain). NFTs can be associated with easily-reproducible items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files as unique items (analogous to a certificate of authenticity), and use blockchain technology to give the NFT a public proof of ownership.”

On February 22, Hard FIZZ put a selection of three potential flavours to the Salty Pirate Crew and the one that gets the most votes will ultimately be made.

The three flavours are Salty Pirate Rum Punch, Fire Chili Margarita and Banana Colada. Tiller (above) expects the winning flavour will be put into production within three months.

“I’m liking the sound of Salty Pirate Rum Punch but it’s really up to the Salty Pirate Crew,” he said.

Salty Pirate Crew founder Barrett Ovens said Salty Pirate Crew is excited to be working with Hard FIZZ.

“We love their brand, marketing and ability to see trends and implement ideas as fast as they do – they’re a real game changer,” he said. “This makes our collaboration with Hard FIZZ a world first in Web 3 and an exciting space to be in.”

There’s been exponential growth in the non tangible collectables market since the start of COVID 19, with studies showing as many as one in four adults are already interested in investing in an NFT.

“Hard FIZZ is built on the digital platform that is social media so as far as I’m concerned, the NFT world is a natural extension of that,” Tiller said.

“The physical billboard on the side of the road is a slowly dying relic of what’s now an outdated marketing strategy – social media changed that and it would seem NFTs are changing it again, especially in the beverage business.”

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Former Bacardi business manager Tiller, Australian DJ Paul Fisher, former Nine cameraman and The Mad Hueys co-founder Joel Scott, and US-based Libre Design executive creative director Justin Heit first came up with the idea in late 2019.

DJs Tigerlily and Brooke Evers, professional surfer Laura Enever, Fae Swim founders Adam and Bianca Bennetts and TV chef Hayden Quinn were soon recruited to the team.

The seltzer is now stocked in 3000 outlets across the country, including Dan Murphy’s and BWS. Hard FIZZ has also launched a brewery on the Gold Coast and the brand has about a 5.2% share of the Australian seltzer market.

According to IRI, Hard FIZZ is now the third most popular brand at independent retailers and the data analytics and market research company predicts seltzer sales in Australia will hit $300 million by 2025.

Tiller puts the brand’s success down to its focus on social media. Together the founding group have a reach of three million people across their various Instagram accounts and they set out to have the most social media followers of any hard seltzer in Australia.

“It wasn’t a strong point for the big competitors we were against, and we identified social media as our billboard, our version of outdoor advertising,” Tiller told the Australian Financial Review earlier this month.

“Fisher had been sharing with us about how he had been building his own brand and network through Instagram… and we had this underlying power through him.”

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