Hard seltzer isn’t necessarily hard. In many ways, it’s an easier lift than beer. Yet it still requires a craft approach to make a craft product. Attach a splintered board to two logs with rusty nails, and you’ve technically got a chair, but no one’s going to line up to order eight of them for their dining room. Know what I mean?
As I’ve written in these pages before: Fermentation is fermentation. If you can make beer, you can probably make other things. Does that same logic apply to hard seltzer? Yes … and no.
On the one hand, as a brewer, you have the skills necessary to get sugar into a liquid, ferment it, flavor it, package it, and carbonate it. Plus, we’re talking about a relatively low-ABV product with few ingredients—two factors that tend to reduce the degree of difficulty. On the other hand, hard seltzer’s defining attribute is its crisp, clean character, and that can be challenging to create. That is all the more true when there are certain recipe additions and process steps necessary to ensure a clean and complete fermentation.