Like many of us working to balance family, career and health, I moderated my alcohol consumption mostly with sparkling water. Its a truly healthy alternative, but not very satisfying or social. As you might imagine, I found moderation especially challenging as a passionate homebrewer of craft beer.
One day, after home brewing a fresh hopped IPA, I found myself wondering what these amazing hops in beer would taste like by themselves. After a quick trial, brewing only with hops (no yeast or grains) and carbonating it, I found that the flavor was surprisingly good, balanced and way more refreshing than any kind of beer. It was something entirely new that my family and friends described generically as Paul’s “hop water.” Could this be a thing?
Believing it could led to years of experimentation and the eventual soft launch in 2014 at a California beer festival under the trademarked brand name H2OPS. I was so nervous at the time, but it blew the minds of the festival attendees, and we quickly ran out.
Despite the consistent and encouraging enthusiasm, it has not been easy. For better or for worse, I am a perfectionist. Combine that we the incredible difficulty of commercializing something that has never been done before and you have a long expensive process. My family and cofounder have taken great personal losses dumping batches and testing new brewing methods and hop varieties that did not work out. Retailers also did not always have the patience to test something unproven and I have discovered that it takes a lot more time and money than you would think to build awareness on a small budget.
Fast forward. Thanks to hard work, some luck, our loyal fans and a small set of patient retailers, we are now attracting investors and growing rapidly. I am so gratified and encouraged by the number of emails from the people whose lives we improved in small but often meaningful ways. It really has become the perfect way for active and healthy beer lovers to enjoy that amazing flavor of hops on more occasions. It’s also become a social reawakening to those who choose to abstain from alcohol. Keep sharing those stories with us and with your friends. That’s what keeps us going!