A hard seltzer company is about to open its doors in Tacoma
Move over White Claw, the hard seltzer craze has officially come to Tacoma’s craft beverage scene. Tacoma Seltzer Co. plans a March 14 grand opening and you’re all invited.
Tacoma Seltzer Co. owner Morgan Alexander will be a familiar face to Tacomans who know their way around the booze scene.
He’s also the owner of Tacoma Brewing Co., which he founded seven years ago. It was basically a tiny system jammed into a closet space in his St. Helens neighborhood coffee house, Amocat. In 2017, he expanded in a huge way. He moved Tacoma Brewing Co. into his 7,000-square-foot brewery space – this one outfitted with a two-barrel system – at 1116 Court E.
Alexander is really good at nano businesses within other businesses. That 1116 Court E. brewery space also is where his Tacoma Seltzer Co. will operate and his cidery, Tacoma Cider Co. also operates at 1116 Court E. Yes, that’s right, Alexander owns and operates Tacoma Brewing Co., Tacoma Cider Co. and Tacoma Seltzer Co. (Is a meadery next?)
HARD SELTZERS GENERATE INTEREST
Alexander’s journey to seltzer was, in part, driven by the market. “It’s been building for a couple years,” said Alexander of the hard seltzer market. “I think at first it was seen as a novelty, but the numbers are hard to ignore: this is something that people have a strong interest in. Certainly the low alcohol and sugar levels are appealing but beyond that I think it appeals to people that aren’t into beer/wine/cider or even mixed drinks.”
Ron Swarner, owner of Peaks and Pints in Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood and somebody who is deeply knowledgeable in craft beverage trends, said he also understands why craft beverage producers are eyeing the seltzer market.
“The craft beer market is tightening so looking for supplemental income looks enticing,” he said. He has not yet seen a seltzer company in Tacoma or surrounding area, but he doesn’t seem surprised it’s happening. Bigger fish already are producing the beverage. “The cider folks seem to be producing the best flavored hard seltzers, especially 2 Towns Ciderhouse out of Corvallis. I like Oskar Blues Brewery’s Wild Basin line,” Swarner said.
So what exactly is hard seltzer? “It’s basically an alcoholic sparkling water,” said Alexander.
“How the alcohol is produced is a differentiating factor. Some hard seltzers are basically sparkling water with vodka added while others are produced by using fermented hard apple cider that has been filtered to remove color and flavor. Ours is made with fermented cane sugar. Once the beverage base is ready then flavor extracts or infusions are added,” he explained.
He added, “We will be doing a variety of styles ranging from ‘traditional’ (clear and lightly flavored) to experimental (not clear, heavier flavors).”
TACOMA SELTZER CO. INSPIRED BY COCKTAILS
“We’ll be starting off with cocktail-inspired flavor combinations,” he said. “This has also been the inspiration behind many of the ciders we are doing and our customers love it.”
He described a seltzer version of a French 75. It’ll be infused with elderflower, lemon, juniper and coriander. He also makes a cider version of the same thing. I’m really excited for his hard seltzer inspired by the same botanicals as his gin-botanical cider – cinchona, juniper, coriander and lime.
He’s planning a trio of hard seltzers inspired by tiki cocktails: His Painkiller hard seltzer will be infused with pineapple, nutmeg, orange and coconut. His Zombie will be flavored with ginger, almond, star anise, grapefruit, pomegranate and lime. He’s also got a Mai Tai themed seltzer made with orange, lime and almond flavoring.
His seltzers, for those keeping count, will have about 90 calories in a 12-ounce pour.
He noted that his hard seltzers will have a modest alcohol content with around 4.5 percent alcohol by volume. He added, “But we will certainly be testing the limits of what a hard seltzer can do.”
Will his seltzers appear outside Tacoma Seltzer Co.? “The seltzers will initially be on tap only at Tacoma Brewing Co. Once the recipes are dialed in, you will see it pop up on tap around town and in cans at local stores,” he said.
The March 14 grand opening party will display an array of seltzers. After the launch, they’ll always have a hard seltzer on tap, but you might not see such a large variety, so get yourself to the grand opening. “We’ll have a food truck on hand and hopefully some live entertainment too!”
TACOMA SELTZER CO.
Where: 1116 Court E., Tacoma
Grand opening info: https://www.facebook.com/events/174328987183879/
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