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Brewing Trends: Strong Times for Hard Seltzer

There’s no denying the popularity of hard seltzer—the beverage success story of 2019. Unlike with beverage fads of the past, brewers large and small are betting on the bubbly longevity of hard seltzer, and they're poised to pivot to whatever comes next.

John Holl Nov 29, 2019 - 9 min read

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Josh Grenz was walking through a local liquor store in Colorado last autumn when he noticed—and how could he not—the multitude of hard seltzers that were dominating shelf space in what had traditionally been known as the beer aisle. He knew the time was right to get on board the carbonated-booze-water Express.

“We already keg up nonalcoholic seltzer in the back of the brewery for us to drink, and we have a lot of fruit purees in house for the IPAs we make,” says Grenz, the owner and brewer of Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project in Loveland, Colorado. “So this was a logical step and really fits requests we get from people who are looking for low-carb, gluten-free alternatives to our beers in the taproom.”

Beverage fads come and go. There have been sparkling wine coolers, the first iteration of Zima (and then last summer’s limited-edition return), hard sodas, and hybrids such as Four Loko, but nothing that has come before has landed with quite the impact of hard seltzer.

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.