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Marketing & Brand: Playing the Seltzer Game

Four highly respected breweries that have launched hard seltzers—DC Brau, Fonta Flora, SweetWater, and Oskar Blues—candidly discuss why they did it, what they learned along the way, and what advice they have for other breweries bound to enter the fray.

Ale Sharpton Feb 15, 2021 - 13 min read

Marketing & Brand: Playing the Seltzer Game Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy DC Brau

Between running daily operations at DC Brau and cooking dinner for three kids, Brandon Skall welcomed a break to talk hard seltzer. The CEO and cofounder of the Washington, D.C., brewery says the reason they decided to start producing Full Transparency (pictured above) in late 2019 may not be what you’d expect. The prime motivator wasn’t the temptation to chase the financial success of brands such as White Claw, Truly, or Bon & Viv.

The Why

For Skall and his team, health challenges were the impetus.

“The first time I brought it to the table, there were a few things going on,” Skall says. For one, fellow cofounder Mari Rodela—the DC Brau’s chief community and culture officer and the spouse of cofounder and president Jeff Hancock—had discovered that she was gluten intolerant. Skall, meanwhile, had his own concerns. “I, myself, swore to change my lifestyle and relax on the amount of alcohol I was consuming,” he says. “I had a pretty serious change in my health. A while back, I decided if it’s not now, then never. I lost 60 pounds, made some life changes, and seltzers fit in—a little more so than beer. I still drink beer all the time, but obviously in moderation.

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