SEATTLE, Wash — It's the sweet sound of success for this Bellevue woman: the clatter of a small Seattle production line, filling cans with a sugar free, carb free alternative to wine and beer.
“Now it's really happening, and canning, and in a box. And in a store. It's just surreal really. It's been fun!” said Katy Enger from the SoDo headquarters of the company she just launched.
The founder of this fledgling company had the idea while sipping huckleberry vodka and soda on vacation in the San Juan Islands.
"I thought oh, this would be good in a can."
It’s an idea that's right on trend: "All my friends and I are kinda steering away from the wine and the beer and the more filling drinks, so I thought oh, let's try this."
So this former teacher started to make San Juan Seltzer. She jokingly calls it 'Adult LaCroix'.
"We're the first local spiked seltzer."
If you're looking for a sugary drink, don't look here. It’s not sweet tasting, and it contains zero sugar. The alcoholic kick comes from vodka.
"It's 4.2 so it's like a light beer,” said Enger, referring to the drink’s ABV- or alcohol by volume percentage.
They started canning at Schooner Exact, a brewery located in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood in spring 2018. When someone asked Enger where she wanted San Juan Seltzer to be in a year, she replied:
“I just want to see someone carrying my can on 4th of July in Roche Harbor.'
That mission was accomplished within a few months: it sold out in Roche Harbor on the 4th of July.
Another thing that sets this sparkler with a kick apart: they plan on only using found in the Pacific Northwest flavors. So far those flavors are Huckleberry, Fuji Apple, Raspberrry-Cran and Pure, a plain vodka soda.
Other flavors are in the works, and demand for San Juan Seltzer is growing.
And the founder this new Northwest beverage business has one piece of advice for anyone else who has a brilliant idea - while on vacation.
"I would say go for it, all the way!” laughed Katy Enger.