Alcoholic seltzer water isn't new. It's been around since at least 2013, according to the website Tasting Table, although M.I.A. is one of the small number of breweries making it. The Boston Beer Company (brewer of Sam Adams) produces Truly Spiked & Sparkling, and Wachusett Brewing Company makes Nauti Seltzer. Both contain 5 percent alcohol by volume. Anheuser-Busch InBev brews SpikedSeltzer, which is a bit stronger at 6 percent ABV.
But unlike the aforementioned breweries, which sell their alcoholic seltzer waters through other websites, M.I.A. proudly peddles HRD WTR on its own site.
The idea for hard water wasn't lost on M.I.A. brewer Michael Demetrus, who at first considered an alcoholic coffee beverage and hard sodas. However, Demetrus says it was difficult to pin down a flavor with the coffee, and he believes hard sodas are on a downturn.
So he decided on hard seltzer.
M.I.A experimented with a 16 percent ABV malt spirit, Demetrus says, and occasionally brought in local bartenders to make in-house cocktails such as Moscow mules.
The final product was scaled back to 5 percent ABV and put on tap. Demetrus says HRD WTR became wildly popular at the brewery. M.I.A. offered it on tap at the recent Great American Beer Festival in Denver, where it was well received, he says.
According to Demetrus, HRD WTR is brewed with champagne yeast, and minerals are added later. He says sugars are used in place of gluten malt.
"Obviously, we're still focused on beer and still making our core beers and one-offs and really expanding our funk and sour program," he says. "Once we figured out how to do it once, we figured out how to do it. It's a really easy process."
Technically, HRD WTR is classified as a gluten-free beer, Demetrus says. In addition, it's touted as all-natural and "super-low-calorie" because virtually all of the sugars have been fermented out.
Because of the popularity of HRD WTR, M.I.A. is now canning it and distributing it to bars and restaurants throughout Miami, as well as stores statewide. Soon, Demetrus says, it'll be available in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
HRD WTR is sold in four-packs of 16-ounce cans for about $10. It comes in three flavors: cucumber lemon-lime, grapefruit, and blueberry.
Some people use HRD WTR for cocktails, Demetrus says, particularly gin and vodka mixers. It can also be enjoyed by itself. "It's kind of like LaCroix with alcohol," he says.
M.I.A. Beer Co. 10400 NW 33rd St., Doral; 305-567-5550; mia.beer.