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Canned hard seltzer is latest from Edmund's Oast Brewing Co., very much open for business

EOBC

Edmund's Oast Brewing Co. is located in the Pacific Box & Crate development on King Street Extension. The brewery just installed four new 3,000-gallon tanks, allowing it to expand the scope and reach of its product line. File/Staff

Just because Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. is getting a new neighbor doesn’t mean the popular taproom is going anywhere. In fact, the brewery just installed four new 3,000-gallon tanks at its Pacific Box & Crate location, allowing it to expand the scope and reach of its product line.

Beer geeks will be glad to know that the increased capacity has freed up space in smaller tanks for brewing director Cameron Read’s ongoing experimentation. But the three words that most drinkers will be happiest to hear are “canned hard seltzer.”

Edmund’s Oast Seltzer is slated to debut by April.

As recently as late 2019, Edmund’s Oast had no plans to broach the hard seltzer market, despite jaw-dropping sales figures for the genre. Since emerging as a category in the early 2010s, hard seltzer has become a $2.5 billion business, with industry analysts predicting consumption of the clear malt drink will triple again by 2023.

But Read says his team was swayed by the versatility of the low-alcohol beverage, which he sums up as “light and refreshing.”

“One of the hallmarks across our beer brands is drinkability, which is really a focus on being able to enjoy the product,” he said. “The market research we’ve conducted indicates that (hard seltzer) is a great option for weekend day drinking, whether on a boat or on a porch.”

Because Edmund’s Oast already produces fruited sours, Read didn’t want to create in-house competition around flavors such as apple or cranberry lime. Instead, he focused on developing hard seltzers in “exotic flavors.”

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The first three seltzers set to appear in cans (which will have labels that clearly distinguish the liquid within from Edmund’s Oast beer) are strawberry rhubarb, coconut pineapple and watermelon lime.

With more tank space, Edmund’s Oast has also grown its distribution network. Although COVID prevented the brewery from making a splashy launch in Atlanta, its beers are now available in Georgia.

Closer to home, though, the essential update is that Workshop’s impending departure from Pacific Box & Crate has no bearing on Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.’s operations. In the coming months, pandemic conditions permitting, it plans to launch a weekly global street food pop-up, reinstitute its Divas on Tap drag show and maintain its daily Power Hour, during which all food and drink is available for half off menu prices.

Since the Workshop food court featured multiple vendors, including some familiar from other projects, many patrons mistakenly assumed that “Workshop” was the general heading for all food-and-beverage service in the complex, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., included.

“We’re literally getting condolence calls,” owner Scott Shor said of the fallout from Workshop's recent closure announcement. “Our servers are like ‘My friends are messaging. They heard the news and they’re really sorry.’”

In short, he concluded: “Boy, oh boy.”

Shor said the confusion dates back to “the get-go,” in part because signage demarcating the businesses was inadequate.

Now the Workshop sign is coming down and a new Edmunds Oast Brewing Co. sign is going up, so people shouldn’t have any trouble finding their next can of strawberry rhubarb hard seltzer.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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