Put down the White Claw, Cleveland. Ohio’s oldest brewery is getting in the seltzer game.
Starting Oct. 11, Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Agave Twist hard seltzer will hit stores throughout Northeast Ohio. The beverage, which is available now in the brewery’s gift shop, is inspired by ranch water, a cocktail popularized in Texas that mixes tequila, sparkling water and agave.
The Cleveland version, which comes in 12-can variety packs of blackberry, pineapple, lemon lime and black cherry, does not contain tequila. The hard seltzer is, however, made with 100% real agave and fruit. For now, the beverage is only available in Northern Ohio, but a wider release is expected in 2022.
The final product is a result of more than a year of testing different iterations and approaches, says Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s multimedia coordinator Adam Ritterspach. Initial versions were available in the Brew Pub last year.
“We called it Cleveland Ranch Water, and it was a hit once people realized what it was, but there was that Midwestern thing where everyone thought it was going to be ranch dressing infused or something,” Ritterspach says jokingly. “But if you’re familiar with what ranch water is, it’s meant to be really refreshing and light, so we thought that was an interesting play in the hard seltzer space.”
Over recent years, Great Lakes Brewing Co. has refreshed its brand a bit for a legacy brewer — and that approach goes beyond the brewery’s great TikTok presence. The new hard seltzer, which is gluten-free, free of artificial sweeteners, 100 calories and only 4.5% ABC, follows the release of Crushworthy Lo-Cal Citrus Wheat. These “better for you options,” as the company calls them, are also more accessible for modern palates.
While craft beer heads might scoff at a hard seltzer, Ritterspach says these products fit perfectly with the legacy of Great Lakes Brewing Co.
“Back in 1986, Pat and Dan Conway had the crazy idea to start their own brewery — that was an unheard-of idea,” he says. “If you look at our history, we’re always looking at what’s the next big thing and how we can be innovative and interesting. That’s true to our core values, which is to make really great, delicious liquid.” greatlakesbrewing.com