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First ‘seltzery’ in California launched in Monterey County

PACIFIC GROVE — Bringing an effervescence to Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, the California Seltzer Co. has begun filling the space at 631 Ocean View Blvd. to become the first “seltzery” in California.

Veronica Camp, one of the founders of the company, said that during the process of creating the hard seltzer the company is known for, the subject of opening a seltzery was jokingly brought up but gained steam the more the idea was tossed about.

“There is a small amount of (seltzeries) in the U.S., … one in Oregon, one in Colorado, and one in North Carolina. But California didn’t have one,” said Camp.

After researching possible locations in the state including Sacramento and Napa, the Pacific Grove location bubbled to the top. The site is situated in the crux of the elbow of Ocean View Boulevard directly across from Lovers Point.

“I’d traveled here before and I had the fondest memories of Lovers Point,” said Camp. “We saw the spot and we wanted to try to make it happen at that location.”

Camp and her two other co-founders, Joseph Ehlers and Charlie Lippert, are the principals behind the seltzer business venture. Camp is head of marketing and public relations, Ehlers is the brewer of the product, and Lippert is head of operations. Ehlers and Lippert are also co-founders of Five Window Beer Co. out of Lodi, which is also part of the fare offered at the taproom and restaurant.

The seltzer is made from fermented cane sugar, a malt base, and the addition of different flavors to create unique profiles, such as hibiscus-lime, pineapple-lemon, and berry-rush, making the seltzer as refreshing as possible and not overly sweet, explained Camp. Hard seltzer refers to the alcohol content, which comes in at 4.5% by volume, similar to what is found in a light beer, but the hard seltzer is under 100 calories, below 2 grams of sugar, and is gluten-free.

Over the past few years, as seltzers have gained popularity most, including California Seltzer, are now sold in cans. Camp said her company’s product is marketed to a broad stroke of the over-21 crowd, while also presenting a version that is alcohol-free for those that do not imbibe.

“We have a non-alcoholic pineapple-lemon flavored sparkling water,” she said.

California Seltzer Co.’s product is made in Lodi, in San Joaquin County, in the heart of the Central Valley. Camp said the business has been successful even before coming to the Central Coast. It is the only craft seltzer in the San Joaquin Valley, distributed to about 200 accounts.

“We distribute it ourselves, which is a job in itself, and we have one outside salesperson,” said Camp. “I would say we made our dreams a reality with the support of the Central Valley and now the Monterey County communities.”

California Seltzer Co. at Lovers Point opened May 14 in a space that had been sitting idle for more than a decade. The building is split into five areas and the new seltzer taproom and restaurant will occupy most of it with 3,524 square feet of interior space and 972 square feet of patio space that afford views of Lovers Point and the ocean.

“It’s been a great success especially since we haven’t done the promotion yet,” said Camp.

The focus right now is to finish construction on some areas of the building while acquiring and training staff before the seltzer company opens the floodgates and sees more patrons, from locals to visitors, flow in.

Camp said the taproom and restaurant are gearing up for its first Classic Car Week just days away. She said it’s something she has never experienced but keeps being told to be ready for so she plans on making sure there is enough seltzer and additional fare on hand.

The California Seltzer Co. plans a ribbon cutting for Sept. 16, and a grand-opening celebration the next day.

Camp said it’s gratifying to see the months of hard work come to fruition and feels a sense of appreciation for something the partners have worked so hard for.

She hopes all the effort she, Ehlers and Lippert have put into the first seltzery in California in Pacific Grove will translate into people coming to create their own memories and stories of Lovers Point just as she has from her travels here years ago.

California Seltzer Co. at Lovers Point Taproom and Restaurant offers wood-fired pizza, small-batch seltzer, craft beer, and more. Visit for more information.

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