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Do Wine Coolers Go Bad?

Will Beck
Last Updated: August 8th, 2023

Finding an unopened old wine cooler in your friend’s fridge or pantry may have you second guessing whether or not you should drink the wine spritzer.

If it’s in the refrigerator with a current expiration date, you are probably safe to drink it, but it does make you wonder “Do Wine Coolers go Bad?”.  The short answer is yes, but it can certainly take some time.

Some say drinking wine coolers ups your game in the drinking experience thanks to the low alcohol content. Knowing which one to drink or not to drink comes in handy if you’re having a party. As a serious wine collector, you all together avoid wine coolers.

Regardless of how you feel about the drink, its popularity is undeniable, so let’s take a closer look at the wine cooler and its expiry dates.

Defining a Wine Cooler

defining a wine cooler

Wine coolers emerged in the 1920s and were well-liked thanks to the low alcohol levels. Their refreshing quality made them an ideal drink to enjoy in the outdoors with friends and family, exclusive of getting too drunk.

Wine coolers made a comeback in the 1980s and continued in popularity through the 90s. The first original wine cooler in the eighties was the California Cooler, an alcoholic beverage born in the endless summers of California’s surf beaches. The flavors comprised grapefruit, pineapple, and lemon-lime, adding white wine and club soda.

Next came Ernest & Julio Gallo’s Bartles & Jaymes in 1984, eventually taking the number one spot from California Cooler.

Of late, wine plays a minor role in these coolers since they are fruit drinks or malt beverages with wine flavor added. Some ordinary wine coolers today are Truly Hard Seltzer and Seagram’s Escape. Though clearly, Bartles & Jaymes made a comeback with real wine ingredients.

How Do Wine Coolers Expire?

how do wine coolers expire

Most of these spritzers have expiration dates on their bottle, though they should last three to five years.

Popular brands like to claim their wine coolers can last five years. However, if you open a bottled drink it within three days as the flavor will change in two to three days. It will go flat in the long run.

If you see any bacteria or mold floating in the bottle, toss the bottle, whether opened or not. If you see nothing, open it and take a whiff. Does it smell like a wine cooler? If so, then it’s probably fine to drink it.

Another rule to go by is “when in doubt, toss it out”. Then, buy some new wine coolers, fresh off the shelf, at the local store.

Wine Cooler Expiration Date

Some seltzers and wine coolers have the expiration date stamped on the side or bottom of the bottle or can.

Usually, you’ll see in front of the expiration date:

  • “Best before”
  • “Best by”
  • “Best when used by”
  • “Best if used by”
  • “Bottled on”

wine cooler expiration date

Also, some wine cooler bottles and cans have a filled date besides an expiration date. For example, Seagram’s Wine Coolers says their Escapes bottles are best consumed within one year of being filled, and the cans are nine months. The filled date appears as a code at the neck or shoulder of the bottle.

For a can, the date is on the bottom of the can. The code goes like this: A is January, B is February, and so forth. The following numbers are the day of the month, and the final number is the year. Like so: B132 is February 13th, 2022.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer has a fill date as well stamped on the bottom of each can. The code goes like this: Months appear alphabetized like Seagram’s, then date and year.

Like so: B1322 is February 13th, 2022. The manufacturer also recommends enjoying the seltzer within a year after its production.

Do Wine Coolers Go Bad? – Final Thoughts

Wine coolers, malt beverages, or seltzers will eventually go bad and expire. If that concerns you, the best solution is to purchase what you need only at the time.

Before purchasing your wine cooler, check the expiration date, filled date, or bottled date. Then, do the math and enjoy your coolers.

Want to know more? Make sure you also check out our guide on how to avoid bad wine.

About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with whiskey a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee with spectacular scenery whilst he coordinates behind the scenes of the Drink Stack blog!

Just so you know, if you click on a product on and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.

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