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Hard Tea Isn’t Hard for Breweries to Love

Twisted or otherwise, hard tea can be made creatively at a small scale while appealing to a surprising range of customers. Here’s how a few small breweries are finding ways to make this drink work for their operations.

Kate Bernot Jun 19, 2023 - 11 min read

Hard Tea Isn’t Hard for Breweries to Love Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Rheinegeist Brewery

Few beverages have as undisputed a market leader as hard tea does. Twisted Tea, Boston Beer Company’s 22-year-old behemoth, is the best-selling flavored malt beverage (FMB) in the country, and it commands roughly 90 percent of the hard-tea market.

It would be hubristic for any small brewery to think it could unseat this champion … yet there are plenty who see room for some new, niche options that could chip away at hard tea’s long tail. And despite the side-eye with which some beer purists might view this FMB, the diversity of recipes, types of tea leaves and flavorings, and methods for producing hard tea actually open the door for some experimentation and craftsmanship.

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