New Mexico–made hard seltzers are popping up across the state.
WHEN MARBLE BREWERY CANNED ITS FIRST two hard seltzers in 2019, I went to the release party on the patio at the downtown Albuquerque taproom. It was a hot July evening, and an epic DJ battle got me out on the dance floor to shake and shimmy.
Sweaty and out of breath, I plopped down at a picnic table and reached for the can of honor, a cucumber-and-key-lime hard seltzer. It was like: Boom. Everything about hard seltzer suddenly made sense. It tasted like a new flavor of LaCroix sparkling water with about the same kick as a Coors Light. Cold, refreshing, crushable. I was back out on the dance floor in a minute.
You may have noticed the adult beverage market has been overrun by hard seltzer, made by Truly, White Claw, Budweiser, Corona, and other big names looking to attract health-conscious customers to the low-calorie, gluten-free, often sugar-free beverages.
For New Mexico brewery fans, Marble, Santa Fe Brewing, Bosque Brewing, and Bow & Arrow Brewing have claimed their seltzer stake.
Moving into seltzer was strategic but also a bit of a gamble, says Barbie Gonzalez, Marble’s co-president. “Our foundation is craft beer, but like any company we want to evolve and stay relevant,” she says. In addition to a dozen craft beers, Marble now cans four hard seltzers, including tangerine, passion fruit, and raspberry–key lime. The brewer has also experimented with new flavors released in small batches through the taprooms.
One might think that seltzer is only a summer drink, but sales have consistently grown, with only slight seasonal dips in the colder months, according to Tasha Zonski-Armijo, at Jubilation Wine & Spirits, in Albuquerque. And don’t assume that because it tastes like mango or pineapple, seltzer is a girlie drink. The low sugar keeps craft seltzers crisp and offers broad appeal. “Really it’s more men buying seltzer,” she says. “They can be social for longer periods of time, and more people are going to friends’ houses to be outside” as the weather warms and the pandemic slows.
As far as this summer goes, if I’m in a bathing suit, there’s a good chance I’ll be drinking a hard seltzer. A can of Bow & Arrow’s prickly-pear-and-juniper-infused Desert Water fits just right in my inner tube’s cupholder.
NM Hard Seltzers
Buy directly from the taprooms or ask for these hard seltzers at retail shops throughout the state. Santa Fe Brewing
Santa Fe Brewing
Look for Santa Fe’s yellow or green cans of lemon- or lime-flavored hard seltzer. Bright, fizzy, and tangy, they’re made with real fruit juice.
New Leaf hard seltzer comes in a mixed 12-pack of lemon-lime, tangerine, pineapple, and mango. Look for new cocktail-inspired flavors Moscow Mule and Paloma, available only at the taprooms.
Passion fruit is the most popular flavor, but you can try raspberry, tangerine, and cucumber–key lime in new party packs coming this summer.
Bow & Arrow Brewing
Desert Water’s blue-and-pink design is worth buying just for the can. But with notes of prickly pear, juniper, and lemon, this sparkler won’t last long in your hand.