ARVADA, Colo. — They’ve been open for less than a month, but Warren and Hunter Wood will tell you business at Elevated Seltzer in Olde Town Arvada is booming.
“The reception has been really, really good,” Hunter Wood said. “The community of Arvada is awesome. We’ve got people coming from Denver, taking the light rail since it’s right here now. We get to see people from all over.”
The brothers opened the state’s first seltzer brewery on July 5. Up until then, both had worked for their family business, Grand Lake Brewing Company, in some capacity until they closed up shop a few months back.
But it wasn’t until Warren Wood was given a hard seltzer after a hike that the idea to take business in another direction occurred.
“I called Hunter and said, 'What if we just took this in a whole [different] direction, and we made hard seltzer?' And he was all about it,” Warren Wood said.
From that moment, the brothers started researching how to brew the product, which has exploded in popularity in the last few years.
“He (Hunter) was reaching out to people trying to figure the processes and different flavor profiles.” Warren Wood said. “With the trend, we thought, 'Why not take a shot?' And why not switch something we’ve done forever into something we can create our own?"
Unlike beer, where there are so many styles and flavors, variations of seltzers are fairly limited.
“We wanted to do cocktails. We wanted to figure out how to mix this stuff, how to make even more different creations then what’s already out there,” Hunter Wood said. “We have a whole cocktail list of different creations we put together to mix these seltzers with.
There’s also a health component. At 100 calories and 5 percent ABV, the beverage is a lighter option to its beer counterpart. Those who drink it say it leaves them feeling less bloated and groggy compared to other types of alcohol. It's also gluten-free.
“We wanted to make something that really, for Colorado and anywhere, appealed to the market that’s there and people trying to lose weight as well,” Hunter Wood said. “That way you can still go out and enjoy yourself and not feel bad the day after.”
When it comes to brewing the seltzers, the brothers said the process is pretty similar to how beer is made. It’s brewed in a kettle, fermented, filtered and kegged. The biggest differences are a more intensive filtration process and the ingredients used. Similar to beer, the seltzers take about two weeks to ferment.
“It’s almost a beer-wine hybrid,” Hunter Wood said. “You use a lot of wine ingredients and wine equipment but you brew it the same as a beer, and the product itself is still its own product, so it’s not like you’re drinking a beer-wine."
At any given time, guests will find four to six seltzers on tap, along with a selection guest beers and the occasional cider. The Woods do taste experiments to come up with different flavors and plan to keep the selection fresh from season to season.
“We’ll be doing different variations of seltzers, different flavors, summer packs, winter packs, all kinds of seasonals," Warren Wood said. "We’ll be doing some rare types of seltzers, so we have a lot of cool ideas coming with those."
There's also a full food menu, with pizza by the slice, sandwiches and appetizer offerings. Just a few days after opening, the brothers were already hearing from bars, restaurants, festivals and liquor stores wanting to carry their product.
“They’ve taken over the market completely,” Hunter Wood said. “Watching it surpass beer sales was just phenomenal. It’s also just cool seeing the perspective in the industry really take a new direction.”
Within the next month, the Woods hope to start canning and distributing their product.
“That’s right around the corner. We’re aiming for September right now,” Hunter said. “We’ll be starting out with four flavors.”
Some of the seltzer creations so far include acai, cloud berry (Hunter's personal favorite), lemon/lime cucumber, tangelo, blueberry and piña colada.
“Time to buckle up and enjoy this ride and really have fun with it,” Hunter Wood said.
Elevated Seltzer is located at 5610 Yukon St. in Olde Town Arvada. They are open seven days a week starting at 11 a.m.
A look inside Colorado’s first hard seltzer brewery
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