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Indian Standard Time: A New Age Drinking Experience

Hard seltzer, an innately refreshing low-calorie drink, has propelled a new movement in the alcobev industry. We speak to the founders of Indian Standard Time (IST), a hard seltzer from Goa

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Indian Standard Time Founder Kunal and Krupa Shah
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When it comes to the alco-beverage industry, India has been observing a thriving drinking culture with more and more people opting to give up their classic glasses in favour of more experimental drinks. 

And one of the new kids that has found favour with India’s growing younger population is hard seltzer. While seltzers are essentially simply carbonated water; with alcohol, they become hard seltzers. Hard seltzers are somewhat a bridge between beer, wine and cocktails and appeal to a population that is now keen on healthier alternatives to alcoholic beverages. This has inspired  brands such as Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Smirnoff, Jose Cuervo, and Barefoot Wine to release hard seltzer-inspired beverages.

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Many hard seltzer brands have emerged from India over the last few years. One of them is Indian Standard Time (IST) Hard Seltzer, founded by Krupa and Kunal Shah, in Goa. They speak to us about why hard seltzer is in vogue.

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Indian Standard Time Hard Seltzer

How did you start IST?
The goal was to create a drink that not only tastes good but also makes you feel good. One that can be had at any time without worrying about the after-effects that come while having other drinks. This search led to the creation of IST.
IST aims to fill the gap between social drinking and better living. Both of us, avid health enthusiasts who enjoy cheerful drinking, realised that nothing in the market allows them to do both. After spending considerable time in the US coincidentally at the same time, when the Hard Seltzer revolution started taking place, we decided to fill this gap in the Indian market with an energetic ambition, perseverance, and thoughtfulness. 

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Why is hard seltzer suddenly in demand?
Globally there is a shift happening where many consumers are demanding low alcohol content, low calories and demand for gluten-free beverages. Today, drinking is no longer restricted to intoxication, bitter experiences, and acquired tastes and taste reigns supreme with intriguing flavour profiles. Today’s consumer is educated and open to exploring more healthy choices. With people now looking consciously at alternatives, whether it is driven by thoughts of clean eating/ drinking, this is the right time to offer more options for a balanced healthy lifestyle and consumers are making informed decisions, hence the huge demand for hard seltzer.

Since most consumers are fuelled by health and wellness trends, they are happily embracing mindful drinking. However, a standard beer or classic cocktail still has over 180-250 calories with multiple sugar sweeteners and unpleasant side effects. However, consumers are often looking for moderate drinks, without the heaviness and strongness of beers & spirits. All these parameters have led to the surge of hard seltzers, an innately refreshing low-calorie drink.

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Hard seltzer offer the same buzz with a lower calorie count

How is hard seltzer better than other drinks, especially beer?
At the same alcohol percentage as beer (5% ABV), IST Hard Seltzer is 99 calories, gluten-free, with just 2 grams of carbohydrates per 330-ml of serving. On the contrary, beer contains gluten and is around 180 calories, with double the number of carbohydrates. However, the crux of the matter lies in the fact that no matter how many hard seltzers you have, you will not get the beer bloat and heaviness that we all know off. It won't leave you feeling heavy in the stomach but will give you the same buzz as a beer would.

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A few hard seltzer pairings:

IST’s citrus-flavoured hard seltzers are versatile over a variety of food pairings – be it a unique fine-dining experience or home-style comfort food.
IST’s Lime is light and offers the right amount of citrus taste to complement it with barbecues, asian cuisines & oriental foods, and greasy burgers.
A plate of nachos and IST Grapefruit’s bold tart flavour goes well with Chettinad and coastal foods, smoky Indian tandoori and gourmet cheese platters!
 

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