hard seltzer

Toronto breweries are making local alternatives to White Claw just in time for spring

With the endlessly popular White Claw adding new flavours to its selection for 2021, many Toronto breweries are giving the public an alternative option for those who prefer to shop local.

The past few years have seen an explosion of popularity for seltzer options and the local craft beer scene quickly took notice. Breweries from across the city were quick to embrace the new trend with open arms and challenge themselves by creating innovative new flavours with a variety of fresh ingredients.

In August of 2020, Great Lakes Brewery announced their new spirits division with the launch of Vodka Soda with Citrus alongside Gin Soda with Key Lime. The immediate popularity has led to the release of their new Gin Soda with Strawberry and an upcoming Tropical Fruit Punch Seltzer expected to release in three weeks.

"Just like brewing, we always try to evolve as a brand and as a company," said Troy Burtch, Marketing & Communications Manager for Great Lakes Brewery.

"As a brewing company fully ingrained in the Ontario scene we could see ready to drink cocktails and seltzers were starting to do some great volume here in the province so we said we can do this and we can do this better."

Not to be outdone, Kensington Brewing Company has also released a number of seltzers with their popular Peach and Lavender as well as Mango and Lychee flavours set to enter over 100 Beer Store locations by spring.

"As soon as I looked into it, I knew pretty quickly it was going to be an interesting challenge for us," said Michael Gurr, President of Kensington Brewing Company.

"We approach this the same way we would with beer, building off a concept to offer something slightly more interesting and a little less mass-market mainstream. We're probably looking at a new flavour every month or month-and-a-half or so."

And of course, Blood Brothers Brewing continues to be a local favourite for its ability to blend complementing flavours. Their seltzer line ranges from simple passionfruit to a more complex cherry coconut blend.

These are just a few of a seemingly endless amount of excellent local breweries, many of which now offer non-beer options as well as local delivery. Many seltzer lovers have already taken notice.

"It seems like every single delivery [from the online store] has a mixed four-pack of seltzers, it's crazy," Gurr said. "The response has been super positive and it feels exciting."

If supporting small businesses if your priority, be sure to mix up with a local offering next time the seltzer craving hits. Best of all, unlike White Claw, most craft seltzers ditch the artificial flavouring for ingredients such as real fruit juice or dried lavender for a more authentic tasting experience!

Lead photo by

Great Lakes Brewery

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