Last week, I wrote about Sendling’s brand new deli, Stenz. It was there that I tried HOPSTER for the first time – a delicious non-alcoholic hop lemonade, made in Bavaria (in Waldsassen, close to the Czech border). It’s aromatic, refreshing, and yet not too sweet. I was hooked, and decided to get in touch with the young founder Jonas Seidl, to find out more about his unique lemonade.
Where did the idea to create a hop lemonade come from?
While studying brewing engineering at the Weihenstephan brewery, I quickly discovered my love for the uniquely floral, fruity hop aroma. Unfortunately in most traditional beers, you can only taste the bitterness of the hops, and not the great flavour. It quickly became clear that I should develop a lemonade made with hops.
You’re the first company to create lemonade made from hops, did you experiment a lot with the recipe in the beginning?
The development was very complicated, and took almost six years. At that time, there was no comparable product on the market and I had to start from scratch. My primary goal was to create a drink where you can taste the hop flavour without it being too sweet. In addition, I only wanted to use locally grown hops from Hallertau. These were very ambitious goals for the development of a beverage – and I considered giving up many times.
The lemonade is now available to buy all over Germany, in Austria and Switzerland, and via wholesale in the US – is HOPSTER going international?
Originally, HOPSTER was just planned for the German market. Triggered by the craft beer boom, and many new beers on the market that have a strong hoppy flavour, there’s now a real buzz around hop aroma. As such, it was just a matter of time before the first inquiries came flooding in from abroad. HOPSTER is the world’s only hop lemonade. Abroad, we work primarily with small distributors, with whom we have a great relationship.
As it’s new on the market, did you find it difficult to drum up enthusisam for hop lemonade, or were people pretty open to it?
Since most people connect hops with beer and alcohol, it was difficult to introduce the product to the market. My company, the Kondrauer Mineralbrunnen, is a small, Bavarian family business. We couldn’t afford a big marketing campaign – and that also wouldn’t fit in with HOPSTER’s philosophy. If people reach for a HOPSTER out of curiosity, they’re ususally very excited about it! This is great – and shows that the long development time wasn’t in vain.
Where can you buy HOPSTER in Munich?
HOPSTER’s sold in several bars and restaurants in the city. Small, specialized drinks markets also sell HOPSTER. You can find a full list of sales points here.