National hard seltzer festival pops the top on first Austin event

National hard seltzer festival pops the top on first Austin event

Seltzerland festival comes to Austin
Seltzerland brings its hard-seltzer festival to Austin's Onion Creek Club this March.  Courtesy of Seltzerland

A national boozy beverage fest is bubbling up in Austin. Seltzerland, the first nationwide hard-seltzer festival, pops the top on its first Austin event March 13, with more than 50 flavors of hard seltzer available to sample.

Seltzerland, presented by New York City-based festival producer Cannonball Productions, will take place in Austin at Onion Creek Club at 2510 Onion Creek Pkwy. And though festivalgoers won’t actually be able to swing a golf club, they can leisurely stroll the golf course while sipping hard seltzer from the likes of White Claw, Bud Light Seltzer, Bon V!V, Cutwater Spirits, and Vizzy.

Seltzerland was originally set to hit the festival scene at indoor stadiums nationwide pre-pandemic. But Kate Levenstien, CEO and founder of Cannonball Productions, (which also produces stadium-sized culinary events like the Bacon and Beer Classic and Taco Takeover) was concerned that idea might fizz out, given safety concerns. So, she reimagined the concept to better adhere to a socially distanced layout, hitting up golf courses throughout the country to host the two-and-a-half-hour, 3-mile sip-and-stroll events.

The event debuted at Chicago’s Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in August 2020, then sold out festivals at golf courses in Minneapolis, Denver, Tampa, and Dallas. This year, in addition to its Austin stop, Seltzerland will also host a festival in Scottsdale, Arizona, before returning to Tampa. 

When purchasing tickets, attendees choose a sign-in time, or tee time. On festival day, groups of 20 people or fewer spread out across the fairway based on their tee time, ambling from hole to hole and seltzer to seltzer on a one-way route, with groups spending about 10 minutes at each seltzer spot. Hormel Black Label Bacon will also be onsite to serve up brunch nibbles.

“It’s levelling the playing field to have everybody get the same amount of time with our attendees,” Levenstien told Forbes prior to launching the reimagined festival. “Every group will stop at each booth for the same period of time so we can maintain that social distance between each group, and it lets the niche brands get as much time with the attendees as the bigger brands.”

Tickets for the Austin event are now on sale, with general admission and VIP options. Starting at $29, a general-admission ticket scores attendees 30-plus samples of hard seltzer (national and local brands), a White Claw drawstring bag, and a commemorative tasting cup. VIP tickets, which start at $49, include all that plus a full can of hard seltzer, a specialty cocktail, a complimentary lunch, and a premier time slot for teeing off.   

With the pandemic still in full swing, Seltzerland is implementing a variety of safety measures at the Austin event, from insisting on mask-wearing and offering sanitation stations at every booth, to conducting temperature checks prior to admittance, and providing a devoted porter for cleaning restrooms between uses.

“These past few months have been incredibly trying, and one thing we know is that everyone needs something to look forward to, now more than ever before,” Levenstien says. “As the weather became nicer, I, as a consumer, just wanted to get outside and have a drink with my friends while being safe. What better place to do that than on an open, outdoor, sprawling, and gorgeous golf course? With courses around the country open to the public and tee times available to manage check-in, it is the safest venue and structure for in-person events. We know this experience will provide a safe opportunity to have some much-needed fun, and we’re so excited to bring Seltzerland to life.”