Cali-Squeeze Seltzers provide a little something for everyone. We offer three classic Cali-Squeeze flavors — Wild Berry, Ruby Grapefruit — plus Pink Lemonade that are perfect for the beach, pool, or wherever you may find yourself. Adaptable. Flavorful. And, of course, easy to drink.

But, what is a seltzer? What makes it different from sparkling water? Or, like sparkling water? We sat down with Amy Crook, our Director of Quality Control, to find out.


Hard seltzer is a fermented alcoholic beverage with fruit juice and flavorings added. Is it similar to sparkling water? They’re both effervescent and the flavor profiles of some seltzers can be reminiscent of your other favorite carbonated beverages, so, in a way, sure. But the idea behind hard seltzer is that it is a sparkling, alcoholic beverage that is easy, and highly enjoyable, to drink.

Making It Sparkle

Now, we’re going to let you in on a little secret, the base recipe for hard seltzer is more or less the same across all companies. What is it? Well, it’s cane sugar that is fermented into alcohol. What differentiates each brand, however, is how they decide to flavor them. Some brands use real fruit juice, artificial sweeteners, acids, or any combination of these to make their seltzers sweeter, or, more tart. For our Cali-Squeeze seltzers, we are adding real fruit juice to give them the most natural fruit flavor we can.

Pure Ingredients

So, if you want to make hard seltzer, you have to start by fermenting a sugar solution. First, cane sugar is dissolved in water, boiled for sterilization, and then cooled and transferred into a fermenter. Now, with beer fermentations, the malt contributes a lot of nutritional elements for the yeast to munch on and help them ferment sugars. But, since hard seltzer does not contain malt, a specialized dry yeast is purchased that was created specifically for hard seltzer. This dry yeast is fortified with all those nutritional elements to help the yeast have a healthy and optimal fermentation.

Once all that sugar is fermented, you run the liquid through a filter to remove the yeast from the solution. If desired you can then run it through a second filter of activated carbon to remove all of the unwanted fermentation flavors to give you a neutral base to build your flavor on. You are then ready to add your fruit juice and any other flavorings, carbonate the liquid, and package it. That’s it!

For Your Health

Now, it’s important to note that alcohol should never be considered a ‘healthy’ beverage. Grabbing a hard seltzer out of the fridge is by no means similar to grabbing a bottle of sparkling water. And, like other alcohols, it should be enjoyed in moderation. But for those looking for a lighter option to share with friends at the beach, hard seltzer does have fewer calories and fewer carbs than beer.

Beers, Spirits, and… Seltzers?

So then, what is hard seltzer categorized as? Beer? Liquor? Something else entirely? Technically, hard seltzer is in its own beverage category in retail. But under the TTB (that’s the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) and tax regulations, it is registered under a beer. Feel free to use that fun fact when you want to win your next round of bar trivia.

Closing Thoughts

With a neutral fermentation base, the opportunities for building flavor are almost endless with seltzers. Equipped with all this new knowledge, why don’t you show off to all your friends and educate them over a variety pack. Use our Squeeze Finder to discover where Cali-Squeeze seltzers (and beers!) are available near you.  

Have more questions about seltzers, beer, or Cali-Squeeze? Send us a message at @calisqueeze and let us know.