The hottest way to cool down this summer might not be with a beer, but rather hard seltzer water. And with the release of a new line of seltzers from Fort Worth’s Collective Brewing Project, you can drink local and on trend.
The brewery’s new Collective Club series debuted in mid-June with two flavors: raspberry-lime and blood orange. To make them, brewer and co-founder Ryan Deyo adds ale yeast to a sugar-water mixture and lets it ferment for about 10 days before adding natural flavoring and force-carbonating the beverage.
The result is a libation with 4.5 percent alcohol content that’s “light, dry, and refreshing,” says Dave Riddile, Collective’s marketing director. Though the Collective Club seltzers are legally deemed malt beverages, they do not contain barley or any other grains, and are considered gluten-free.
Boozy sparkling water is one of the fastest growing segments of the beverage industry, with sales increasing 193 percent between April 2018 and April 2019, according to Nielsen. (By comparison, sales of craft beer grew 7 percent in 2018, according to the Brewers Association.)
As consumers’ thirst has grown, so too have the number of options on store shelves. Truly, which Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams) released in 2016, is now joined by an onslaught of options from big brands like White Claw and Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling, to craft options like Oskar Blues Brewery’s Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water.
Riddile at Collective says the segment’s popularity follows a wider trend in the industry toward making beverages that complement a healthy lifestyle. (Remember when Bud Light touted adding nutritional facts to its labels?)
“Hard seltzers kind of fit into that,” he says. “Besides giving an alternative to something higher in caloric count, they can also be an alternative to drinking a vodka-tonic.”
Collective’s raspberry-lime and blood orange flavors are currently available on draft at the brewery in Fort Worth, and are expected to be available at select bars in North Texas in the coming weeks, Riddile says. Collective also hopes to roll out new flavors throughout the summer and eventually make them available in cans.