Brewer Patrick Sullivan said he is not simply hopping on a trend -- he's making it better.
The head brewer and partner of Somewhere in Particular, also know as SIP, said he has created a superlative hard seltzer, called Fun Water, that he introduced March 25 and is ready to hit the local market.
"The whole goal was to make something that wasn't artificial-tasting," Sullivan said. "It has a good clean flavor that's more authentic with our interpretation of flavors and superbly drinkable."
Fun Water is not yet available at SIP, 5053 Dierker Road in Columbus, but should be soon once Sullivan ramps up production, said Joe Casey, manager and partner of the brewpub, which as of March 26 was open from noon to 8 p.m. daily for growler fillups and limited sales of canned beers.
A SIP location in Clintonville remains closed during the statewide prohibition of dine-in services at bars and restaurants to quell the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Sullivan is making the hard seltzer through another enterprise, Nowhere in Particular brewing, with partners Max Unverferth and Russ Cope.
The hard seltzers are brewed in various sites in Ohio as Sullivan looks for a permanent brewery, he said.
There are four flavors of the gluten-free seltzer -- blue raspberry cherry lime, strawberry lemonade, mixed berry and prickly pear key lime -- available in mixed-variety 12-packs or single-flavor six packs.
Sullivan said the purpose of Fun Water "is to break away from the such singular flavors and offer something with more ingenuity."
"That's why we went with flavors that we did," he said, "and come summer we'll have four more exciting flavor combinations."
Sullivan said he uses real fruit flavor -- no artificial flavors or syrup -- and cane sugar. Each 12-ounce can contains no more than 5% alcohol by volume, 100 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates.
His first round of production was 1,300 cases, to be distributed over the next couple of weeks to local craft-beer outlets.
"We're looking to have it statewide, distributed through Premium Beverage Supply," Sullivan said.
Casey, a beer aficionado, said he enjoys Sullivan's potion.
"It's not as medicinal tasting as some of the other ones," he said. "It's really clean, crisp -- it's lighter."
Other local breweries have flirted with making hard seltzer, but its production still is fairly limited in central Ohio.
Collin Castore, a partner in Seventh Son Brewing Co. and Antiques on High, said his business has been making Kitty Paw hard seltzer since autumn and has 100 or so draft accounts. It is available in local Giant Eagle and Kroger stores.
Castore said he also uses real fruit and zero sugar for zero carbs in his brand.
"For us, it filled the niche of gluten-free for the taproom, and we started it that way," he said, "and people liked it so much, we started putting it in cans."
Castore said he is surprised he likes it, because "I've hated every other seltzer that I've tried."