Gold Coast-based Hard Fizz company makes $10m during Covid lockdown

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A popular alcohol brand owned by a group of celebrity entrepreneurs has taken off in Queensland.

The Gold Coast-based Hard Fizz company – which launched in 2020 during the height of the Covid pandemic – was co-founded by model and entrepreneur Chloe Fisher, 30, and her husband Paul, 35, a Grammy-nominated DJ.

“When the pandemic first started, Paul and I were at home on the Gold Coast wondering what we were going to do,” Ms Fisher said.

“His gigs were cancelled, he couldn’t tour and then we were pitched the idea of a seltzer company.”

Celebrities such as DJ Tigerlily, TV personality Brooke Evers, professional surfer Laura Enever and Aussie chef Hayden Quinn also front the brand, which is now stocked in more than 3000 outlets across the country, including Dan Murphy’s and BWS.

Hard Fizz has grown to be the third most popular seltzer in Australia behind White Claw and Smirnoff.

After returning from the US, the Fishers discovered a gap in the Australian market for the popular vodka-based drink.

“After spending so much time in the States, we knew how huge hard seltzer is there – it was an untapped market in Australia.” Ms Fisher said.

“People were drinking it everywhere in the states,” Mr Fisher said.

The pair, who collectively share more than 1.6 million Instagram followers, got married in 2020 before the launch of their new brewery in the Gold Coast suburb of Miami.

The business, which has amassed more than $10m in sales this year, and $7.5m in its first year, is made up of a team of 70 per cent women.

“I’m so proud to be involved in a company with such a large and strong female contingent,” Ms Fisher said.

“It’s been so amazing to see the company take shape with so many dominant females.”

Hard Fizz chief executive Wade Tiller said in the 15 years he had worked in the industry, he had never seen such a female-dominated workplace, with women taking up roles in sales management, business development, activation, trademarking and marketing.

“Working in the industry over the years, I think my colleagues were 80 per cent men,” he said.

“I think drinking habits have changed and society is slowly changing for the better.”

Employee Sophia Pearson said since joining the company she had leapt from promotion to promotion.

“I’ve been promoted twice in about seven months and they have both been from them coming to me.” she said.

“It’s honestly quite refreshing.”

Australian Distillers Association chief executive Paul McLeay told NCA NewsWire that distillers specifically still had a “long way to go” when it comes to gender equity.

“(Women in distilling) still sit at 25 per cent, so, yeah, there’s a long way to go,” he said.

“We support and encourage women into the industry and we have some extraordinary women distillers that are doing some amazing products.”

Long-term trends in alcohol consumption show Australians are drinking better-quality products, with women leading the shift in patterns.

“Gin for example has an 85 per cent female customer base,” Mr McLeay said.

Government figures show almost three times as many Australian women choose to enjoy spirits rather than beer.

Although there are no official statistics to represent how many women work in the alcohol industry, it is estimated around just 15 per cent of women account for all distillers.

Originally published as Celebrity entrepreneurs create multimillion dollar drinks company after a US holiday


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