Seltzer: mix it into a cocktail, use it as a booze replacement, or you just drink it because all your friends are doing it. There’s no denying the bubbly beverage’s presence in the market. As a drink category, it’s estimated to be worth $1.8 billion. La Croix, meanwhile, has been called a commercial phenomenon.
But look past the trendsetters and Instagramers and you’ll find seltzer’s true diehards — the members of Now Fizzing, a closed Facebook group devoted to the search for and enjoyment of the seltzer.
The group, whose tagline is “Hot Seltzer News As It Happens,” is reportedly just what you’d think: an online community where the roughly 3,000 members can share product reviews, pictures, tips on how to find rare flavors, and recommendations.
I happen to be a seltzer diehard myself, which is how I heard about the group, but since I’m lame [Or brilliant? – Ed.] and don’t have a Facebook account, there was no way for me to actually join. Fortunately, there are some members who’ve already shared their experience and thoughts with the outside world, including journalist Allee Manning, who interviewed Now Fizzing’s founder, Jon Solomon. According to the interview, Solomon started the group in 2014, after going with friends on a camping trip to a dry campground (no booze). “On paper, [Now Fizzing] sounds crazy,” he said in the interview. “But I think when you’re part of it, you realize that it’s this unexpectedly wonderful, special thing.”
That was a year or so before the whole seltzer bandwagon started really rolling, but Now Fizzing seems less concerned about following trends as it does about finding new flavors and sharing about them. Another group member, Amanda Brennan, explained the group on a podcast by saying, “We share photos of the seltzer we’re drinking, hot tips on where to find unique seltzers.” And by “unique seltzers,” think coffee flavored, hints of Boston Creme Pie, and one that tastes suspiciously like Swedish Fish.
On the same podcast, Brennan also explained the seltzer-specific lingo used by group members. Any product that markets itself as seltzer but has sugar in it is a “snake.” A “ghost” is seltzer without a flavor. And among group members, La Croix is simply known as Leroy, which is probably easier to type than the product’s actual name.
At this point, Now Fizzing is big enough to have its own line of merchandise and hold in-person meetups in places like Brooklyn and Seattle. And Brennan, in the Manning interview, noted the overall group dynamic of Now Fizzing, calling it “fun, supportive, wholesome, safe, pure, positive, friendly, and earnest,” which are not, of late, words you’d associate with either Facebook or a drinking society.
Maybe that’s the point. Food and drink has always been a great unifier of people; there’s no reason that historical trend can’t continue now that we’re all online (if not all on Facebook). Let’s just hope carbonated milk never goes mainstream.