Hard seltzer is already firmly established as a popular, trendy drink in the USA. The alcoholic sparkling water is now sweeping through Europe and the rest of the world. Target-group-oriented marketing concepts and online campaigns have seen this new drink segment set annual growth records in North America since 2018. Manufacturers of these products can rely on the proven Velcorin technology from Lanxess to provide efficient, cost-effective microbiological stability for this low-calorie alternative to wine and beer. Cold sterilization makes it impossible for yeast, mold, or bacteria to impair the shelf life and taste of these hip drinks.
To produce hard seltzer, water is carbonized and minimally sweetened, and a little alcohol with – mostly natural – flavoring is mixed in.
Velcorin – it comes, works, and disappears
Germs are always all around us – and the production and canning or bottling of drinks is no exception. Cold sterilization with Velcorin (dimethyl dicarbonate, DMDC) is ideal for preventing contamination, particularly in the sensitive canning or bottling area. It is highly efficient even with small quantities of the active ingredient. This applies as much to hard seltzer as to other microbiologically sensitive drink categories such as beer or mixed wine-based products. Although the alcohol content of hard seltzer is relatively low at four to six percent, this is not enough to prevent the growth of product-spoiling microorganisms.
Velcorin is dosed into the drink just before canning or bottling. The active ingredient penetrates the cell wall to get inside yeast, fungus, or bacteria cells and deactivates vital enzymes, thus killing the cells. Excess DMDC reacts with the water in the drink within a few hours. All that is given off in this hydrolysis process is small amounts of methanol and carbon dioxide, which are also present as natural constituents in many fruit and vegetable juices and wine. There are no traces of Velcorin itself in the end product, so it has absolutely no negative effect on the drink’s sensory properties. It often provides an opportunity to improve the drink’s tasting profile as other means of stabilization can be reduced.
The use of Velcorin is authorized for a large variety of different drinks in Europe, the USA, and many other countries. Major bodies such as the EU’s Scientific Committee on Food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA, and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the FAO and the WHO have documented the harmlessness to health of DMDC.
Universally applicable Velcorin dosing technology
Even very small quantities of Velcorin are fast-acting and effective. Precise Velcorin dosing requires a reliable technology. To this end, in addition to the active ingredient, Lanxess provides a suitable, sophisticated dosing technology and a service package to ensure customer’s success. This package covers technical questions and support with the application technology, for instance, in microbiological analysis or production plant audits. Lanxess Velcorin dosing units can be integrated into new as well as into existing canning or bottling systems easily and cost-effectively, and optionally connected to their automation technology. Filling capacities of 600 to approx. 72,000 liters per hour are supported here. Any kind of beverage container can be used, too. Velcorin is compatible with all packaging types: glass or PET bottles, cans, pouches (aluminum bags), or cartons. This ensures maximum flexibility in every respect, which is crucial, particularly in product development and launches.
Velcorin Technology is already in use successfully at international and local leaders in the beverage industry. It offers Hard Seltzer, next to already well-established beverages, to unlock its full potential.
Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 6.8 billion in 2019. The company currently has about 14,400 employees in 33 countries. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing, and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals, and plastics. Lanxess is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and Europe) and FTSE4Good.