Seltzerland, hard seltzer’s first known festival, is debuting this Saturday, August 29, in Chicago. Hosted by Cannonball Productions at the Cog Hill Golf Course, the groundbreaking fest in the touring series will have strict COVID-19 distancing rules in place. 

It’s been a sad summer for festival lovers. Some beer festivals converted to virtual rather than postponing, and musicians, comedians and entertainers have traded live concerts for live streams. Devised pre-pandemic, Seltzerland, too, had to put their plans on the backburner. With a few tweaks, the festival is finally safe to launch. The largest change for the festival was location; organizers relocated the events from more traditional venues to golf courses in order to provide adequate room for social distancing — no golf included. Attendees will be able to taste 50+ different seltzers across the 9-hole golf course.    

Featured hard seltzer brands include big players White Claw, Bud Light Seltzer, Natural Light Seltzer and Bon Viv, as well as Cutwater Spirits (Ballast Point Brewing, CA), BABE, Itz Spritz, Bravazzi and Pomologie (Minneapolis Cider Co, MN). The festivals will also include local producers, such as Solemn Oath Brewing (IL) and Short’s Brewing Company (MI). For a full list of sponsors, you can visit the Seltzerland website, where more brands are to be announced. 

So far, the festival has confirmed stops in four cities in the midwest and east coast — Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, and Boston — with plans for more stops in the near future.

Seltzerland is not only the first major hard seltzer festival, but also one of the first festivals to take place since the pandemic started. Because of this, Seltzerland may pave the way for other festivals two-fold. First, it may popularize seltzer-centric festivals and encourage beer festival producers to include hard seltzer brands in their events. Secondly, they may set a standard for how festivals are run while COVID-19 remains a threat to public health.

The Chicago festival plans to tour small groups, 15 people or less, through a one-way tasting route. Vendors will be spaced a minimum of 50 feet apart. Guests must wear masks at all times, unless tasting. All guests will be temperature checked at the gate and provided masks and hand sanitizer to use during the festival.        

We will see how the Chicago stop fares in terms of efficiency and guest safety. Hopefully, it will see success and we can look forward to more hard seltzer festivals (or any type of festivals!) in the future.

You can take a detailed look at all the COVID-19 regulations in place on the Seltzerland website FAQ page. Ticket prices start at $55 for general admission, and $99 for VIP admission. Special pricing for groups may be available. Tickets are only available online, and you can sign up to be notified if your local city is added to the Seltzerland tour. 

Stephanie Meade