What happens when you get six guys who love hops and want a reason to spend more time together? You get Hopwater—an all-natural soda and mixer that’s unlike any other in your bar or fridge. The idea came to the group in March 2015 and was tinkered with for a year before coming to life. Brandon Dawson, one of the founders, says, “Tony Moore, who is a flavor chemist, worked to get the product right.

“Hops is not typically found in anything other than beer because it is hard to stabilize,” Dawson continues. “But Tony found a way to not only stabilize it in soda, but to make it delicious.” Hopwater doesn’t have the bitterness that people associate with a “hoppy” flavor. “When you separate the hops from the malt, the flavor is light, crisp, and you get a nice aroma,” Dawson says.

Hopwater comes in four flavors: Original, Grapefruit, Lime, and Ginger. Each flavor has only 48 calories, is vegan and gluten-free, and, unlike tonic water, is quinine free. “Hopwater is a great substitute for tonic water, and is a great mixer for all spirits,” says Dawson, calling it the Swiss Army Knife of mixology. “We originally thought that each flavor would only mix well with one type of spirit, but the more people tried our product, we learned that wasn’t the case.”

Hopwater is sold in more than 200 locations in Ohio and in six states. Jungle Jim’s and Party Source both stock the soda, as well as a couple of Kroger stores. Downtown restaurants Boca and Sotto have also featured the mixer in some of their cocktails.

Visit the Hopwater website for a list of retail outlets, drink recipes, and upcoming events.

—Laura Frey

Find it at: Select Kroger stores, Party Source, Jungle Jim’s,
Dep’s Fine Wine, The Gruff

Julie publishes Edible Ohio Valley with her family. After 15 years in the world of commercial photography, her lens is now focused on recording the sustainability movement in the Midwest. A graduate of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, she’s a partner and co-founder of The Fairview Agency, a multidisciplinary creative firm.