shaking it up

2 buzzy Houston breweries shake up seltzer market with crisp new options

2 buzzy Houston breweries shake up seltzer market with new options

Buffalo Bayou Brewing seltzer 6 pack
Hibiscus gives Buff Brew's seltzer a pink hue. Courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company

Two Houston-based breweries have joined the growing seltzer market. Both Buffalo Bayou Company and Karbach Brewing Co. have new offerings that have recently hit store shelves. 

Buff Brew’s Summer Street Hibiscus Lime Hard Seltzer takes its inspiration from a jamaica agua fresca. Using hibiscus gives the beverage a neon pink color, while puréed lime gives it a citrus pop. At just 5-percent alcohol-by-volume, it’s easy to knock down a couple without suffering the same repercussions as a Scotch Ale or other, heavier brew.

Karbach, the locally founded brewery acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2016, sought inspiration from the popular Ranch Water cocktail for its seltzer. Made with blue agave and lime, the Ranch Water seltzer mimics the drink’s flavors without the use of tequila or other spirits. 

“Something that took a long time for us to get just right was creating a super clean finish devoid of any aftertaste,” Karbach marketing manager David Graham said in a statement. “Our Ranch Water lets the agave and lime really shine without any artificial flavors. It is incredibly refreshing and we know folks are going to really enjoy kicking back on a hot afternoon with a Ranch Water or two.”

The easy-drinking seltzer contains 90 calories per can and comes in at a low 4.5-percent ABV.

Both the Buff Brew and Karbach drinks enter a crowded but growing market. Led by White Claw and Truly, the market grew more than 200 percent in 2019, according to data compiled by the IWSR, which tracks global sales of beer, wine, and spirits.

Consumers like the seltzers because they're easy to drink. Each can typically has less than 5-percent ABV, is gluten-free, and only contains around 100 calories.

That success has triggered a flood of bubbly competitors. Coca-Cola announced that Topo Chico would bring its own hard seltzer to America in 2021. Texas favorite Shiner introduced its Straight Shooter seltzer last summer.