Cigar City Brewing to release hard seltzer amid bubbly craze

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Cigar City Brewing will soon release a line of hard seltzers amid the ongoing craze for the bubbly, fruity drink.

The line will include four citrus, Florida-inspired flavors, including Meyer lemonade, Florida orange, ruby red grapefruit and key lime.

“Well seltzer, it’s something we’ve been developing for quite a while now. Certainly, out in the market, people are excited about seltzers, they’re selling very, very well. But we didn’t want to put something out unless it was going to match the quality of our beer,” said Neil Callaghan, the brand manager at Cigar City Brewing. “So that took us more than a few months to really dial in some of the flavors and find something that was really going to be as flavorful and interesting as our beers.”

Callaghan said their brewers were bringing in some seltzers to drink, so they figured if those who make beer for a living were reaching for a seltzer, there had to be something to it.

Cigar City wanted to be sure they were bringing something new, interesting and innovative.

“We don’t want to just be the same product as everything else on the shelves, because there are quite a lot of them now. We want to offer something new, something innovative, something that’s got much bolder flavors than the other stuff that’s out there,” Callaghan said.

The seltzer will not be brewed at the Tampa location itself, allowing the brewery to produce more fresh beer, such as the very popular Jai Alai, to get out in supermarkets.

The hard seltzers will be available soon. Callaghan said Cigar City hopes to see them on supermarket and liquor store shelves across Florida at the end of February or beginning of March.

“We want to take care of Florida and make sure we’re supplying this market…. For Florida, as long as they’ve got the seltzer, that’s the important thing,” he said.

The brewery is also gearing up for the Super Bowl, being so close to Raymond James Stadium itself.

The last time the game was in Tampa, in 2009, Cigar City had just opened.

“So this isn’t our first go-around, but this is certainly our first go-around at the size that we are. We’re going to be open for on-premise consumption, we’ll have plenty of beer to-go as well. Food specials, all kinds of fun, exciting things happening at the brewery,” Callaghan said.

“We’re excited to have the Big Game so close by, and we’re excited to host people coming in from all over the country and all other the world and give them a taste of Tampa on draft.”

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