Hard seltzer, you may have skimmed past it at the bottle-o, and you would have certainly spotted the word in your feed by now, but what the heck is it?
The For-Dummies answer is alcoholic fizzy water, but there’s far more to it than that, and given you’ll most likely be drinking it all summer, we’ve called in the help of Moon Dog Brewing’s Group Customer Experience manager (or head flavour guy), Chris Hysted-Adams, to talk us through what it is, and when we can get our hands around their seltzer—or alcoholic fizzy water.
Before its recent rise to bar-fridge fame, however, seltzer’s origins come from far more humble beginnings in central Germany, Hysted-Adams explains.
“The word originated from an old German village called Selters. Seltzer basically means ‘Of Selters’, and that town, in particular, was really well known for its sparkling water from their natural sparkling springs. What we're talking about here is the idea of hard seltzer, or alcoholic soda water is an easier way to think of it.”
The spiel may sound somewhat foreign, but a sip of seltzer will be reminiscent of the alcoholic soda combos that you’ve no doubt indulged in over the warmer months and summers gone by.
“When you think about how popular vodka sodas are in bars, it’s inherently going to be a hit. This is effectively a product that's very similar in profile but just produced in a different way.”
You’ll find a healthy grip of seltzer on the market already, though Moon Dog has done exactly what they do best with their iteration by shaking the trends, and instead tapping into those nuanced Australian-isms found throughout the brand.
“At the moment there’s this kind of faux nautical theme to a lot of seltzers. You look like you've got to be on a yacht in a polo shirt and boat shoes to be drinking it—do you know what I mean?
“One thing we really love doing at Moon Dog is stuff that's a bit cheeky and always with a nostalgic Australiana feel to it,” said Hysted-Adams.
Fans of Moon Dog will recall beers such as the Splice of Heaven, which takes us straight back to the family-roadtrip ice-cream of choice, the Splice. Their seltzer range will have a similar effect, mainlining that nostalgia straight to our senses.
“We're launching with four. We're looking at a Splice-inspired seltzer, so a pine lime situation. We're looking at a coco-mango which'll have that mango Weis Bar character to it. Another that’s very akin to a tropical fruit punch cordial. I'm not sure if you remember from when you were a kid, from school camp, those big yellow insulated dispensers—heaps of orange and passionfruit.
“And one that was lots of fun to do was strawbs and cream, really similar to those strawberry and cream lollies without that overbearing sweetness.”
The excitement for this summer drink, and drinking in summer for that matter, is palpable, but the team at Moon Dog see Seltzer as far more than a single-season fad.
“Josh, one of our co-founders, is pretty ambitious with it, and thinks there's a very good chance within the next five or so years, we could be making more seltzer than we are beer.” Hysted-Adams said.
It’s a sizeable claim, and while Moon Dog’s beer won’t be disappearing anytime soon, it’s a calculated forecast based off global trends that’s seen major producers unable to meet the demand for the drink.
“It even got to a stage in The States where the big one, White Claw, was so popular that the facility couldn't keep up with it. So there were actual outages of it over there. It's incredible how it's really taken off as a beverage.“
Hysted-Adams and the team look to release their seltzer this October. You can expect the core range in cans, and potentially a few limited-run flavours on the taps at both Moon Dog venues—once we’re allowed back at the pubs of course.
Keen to keep learning? Check out this 101 on pet-nat wines with the team from Bar Liberty.
Image credit: Samantha Schultz