Austin’s Big Country is First Ever Organic, Fair Trade Hard Seltzer
The rise of hard seltzer continues to be one of the biggest trends in craft brewing. Central Texas is no stranger to the fad. Austin is already home to more than half a dozen hard seltzer brands. Newcomer Big Country Organic Hard Seltzer has a standout claim that goes beyond exotic flavors. Big Country is the first and only hard seltzer that is USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Fair Trade Certified.
The hard seltzer is a collaboration between Big Country Foods Inc. and Willard’s Brewery, which is the only Certified Organic brewery in Texas. Big Country Foods began as a wholesale supplier of organic baking ingredients in 2012. While sourcing cane sugar, CEO Bill Gillies built a relationship with La Felsina sugar mill in Paraguay. Since then, Big Country Foods has sold 12 million pounds of sugar and brought more than $91,000 back to Paraguayan farmers through Fair Trade purchases.
Cane sugar is the main ingredient in hard seltzer, so Big Country was perfectly positioned to start brewing. Gillies’ belief in “the path of most-resistance” for sourcing and producing baking ingredients also translates well. Big Country uses a proprietary “Cane to Can” brewing process with careful controls to assure transparency and quality in each batch.
This deliberate approach is also reflected in the seltzer’s flavors, designed by local mixologist and Creative Director for Torchy’s Tacos Ricky Cobia. Big Country comes in twelve packs with four flavors: Blackberry Grapefruit, Passionfruit Kiwi, Prickly Pear Peach, and Watermelon Pineapple. All flavors clock in at 90 calories, 0 grams of sugar, and 4.5% ABV.