Upland Brewing Company, a brewery local to Bloomington, has entered the seltzer market.
Naked Barrel, the new hard seltzer brewed by Upland locally and throughout Indiana, is now available in three flavors. They include tangerine, cherry lime and grapefruit hibiscus. President of Upland David Bower said Upland began developing the Naked Barrel brand of hard seltzer at the end of 2019 and officially launched the product in Indiana stores about six weeks ago.
The seltzers can be purchased in local grocery and liquor stores and are available at several local restaurants and bars such as the Video Saloon, The Tap and the Upland Brewpub.
Bower said the Naked Barrel brand fits a niche market which brings natural flavor to an industry flooded with artificial flavors.
“We found a wide-open space within the hard seltzer category to do something new,” Bower said.
Truly, White Claw and other large alcohol brands offer similar products with fruity flavors, clear colors, low-calories and generally artificial flavors, Bower said. As a craft brewer, Upland wants to serve the market of people who want more from a hard seltzer.
“We decided to add real fruit for the flavor,” Bower said. “Not just something that tastes like cherries, we added real cherries.”
Upland also takes pride in its creative and innovative brewing process, Bower said. The hard seltzers are blended with the company's wood-aged sour beer. Upland is already experimenting with a new line of flavors, he said.
“It has this really unique tartness, like a lemonade refreshing tart quality,” Bower said.
When combined with the sour beer, the lightness of the seltzer creates a taste that Upland is proud to offer.
IU seniors Emily Hannefey and Bella Foddrill tried the Naked Barrel seltzer and both commented on the product’s differences to other hard seltzers.
“It’s kinda like a light beer fizz situation,” Foddrill said.
According to Bower, a hard seltzer should be low-calorie, low carb and enjoyed outdoors or by the pool. At 100 calories and 3.5 grams of carbs, the seltzer’s packaging says the beverage is “shamelessly refreshing.”
The fruit themed, colorful packaging and labels of the product are eye-catching and reminded Hannegey of summertime. Foddrill agreed, saying the cans made her want to have a photoshoot.
Naming a drink is challenging, Bower said. Upland didn’t want an arbitrary cute name — they wanted meaning. To Upland, the “Naked” aspect of the name references freedom from artificial flavors while being light, refreshing and natural. Bower said “Barrel” references the company’s wood-aged sour beer program.
“Naked Barrel to us is really a reference to those points of difference,” Bower said.
To find the nearest Naked Barrel seltzer to you, use the location finder here.