Summer drinking typically takes a lighter tone as we look to fruity, refreshing drinks that are easy to sip. And while canned wines and cocktails are certainly at the top of the list, there’s one category that continues to take the world by storm, with not only a booming business throughout summer, but all year long. Seltzers, while incredibly popular, are still relatively new to the alcoholic beverage market. And even though national brands have taken up plenty of real estate in grocery store aisles, there’s one Pacific Northwest produced seltzer that’s holding its own: San Juan Seltzer.
Pacific Northwest Inspired
Founder Katy Enger decided to dive in on launching a seltzery in 2018 and never looked back. She found her inspiration for the idea during a girl’s weekend at her parent’s house in Washington’s San Juan Islands. Enger and friends were sipping on huckleberry vodka sodas on the deck when the idea hit. “The category was so new at the time,” Enger says. “It’s been a crazy ride. We pinch ourselves every day.” But hard work and dedication paid off: San Juan Seltzer is the only craft seltzer with zero sugar, zero carbs and only 85 calories per can.
In creating San Juan Seltzer, Enger and her team developed a recipe based on filtered water, cane sugar and yeast. “It took six months to a year to get the base down,” says Enger. Essentially, it’s fermented like a beer but without malt or hops. “The yeast eats all the sugar, creating the base beer,” she says. “It goes through a filtering process to make it cleaner, giving it that crisp finish.”
From there, the essences and flavors are added with a focus on Pacific Northwest fruit. “It’s all locally sourced, and you can literally trace the fruit back to the source,” Enger says. “When we say handcrafted, we mean it.” As the first-ever seltzer produced in the Pacific Northwest, San Juan Seltzer launched with its flagship Huckleberry seltzer, but other locally inspired flavors such as Rainier Cherry, Fuji Apple and Raspberry-Cran soon followed.
The San Juan Seltzery
Since launching the product, Enger has come a long way in just three years. San Juan Seltzers can be found in stores across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Texas and Alaska, and draft seltzer can be enjoyed at the San Juan Seltzery in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood which opened earlier this year. But it’s not just your average taproom. The hub is known as the first-ever dedicated, full-production seltzery in the nation, a term that has since been trademarked by San Juan Seltzer. With 16 seltzers on draft, along with an incredible menu from Ethan Stowell Restaurants to go along with it, it’s a unique experience for those who love to sip seltzer, or for those just getting into the category.
But even as the company continues to expand, Enger is still dedicated to making one product and making it well – a craft seltzer with zero sugar and zero carbs. “We’ve worked hard on our innovation side and keeping relevant in this game,” she says. “We had to find ways to stand out. It’s craft with only Pacific Northwest flavor. If you can’t grow it here, we’re not going to do it.”