San Diego's canned cocktail makers are here to help make it easier to continue socializing outdoors, but make sure to be responsible consumers by packing out what you packed in and doing what you can to recycle. Image: Michelle Stansbury.

Put down the White Claw and Truly and slowly back away. Local companies are expertly crafting canned cocktails, ciders, kombuchas, sodas and yes—even hard seltzers—that don’t sacrifice on taste or quality. Whether you’re enjoying the end of summer on the beach, grilling with friends, or taking a boat out on Mission Bay, canned cocktails and soft drinks are not only convenient but are becoming more varied by the week. 

Load up your cooler with these locally-crafted beverages and see what all the buzz is about. 

Canned Beverages for All Ages 

Perfect Canned Kombucha (non-alcoholic)

Nova Kombucha

Nova Easy Kombucha has debuted a new line of non-alcoholic kombucha that is perfect for drinking before a hike or surf session this Labor Day. The line includes a pre-workout Power kombucha, plus a Recovery kombucha blend, formulated with probiotics to promote a healthy gut as well as an infusion of Buoy Hydration

This tangerine soda is spiked with caffeine extracted from coffee cherries. Image: New Wave Soda.

Most Politely-Caffeinated Soda (non-alcoholic)

New Wave Soda

Mix sparkling water with natural juices and caffeine sourced from coffee cherries and you’ve got yourself a New Wave Soda. For those of us that need botanical insight as to how coffee is produced: Coffee cherries are the fruit of the coffee plant. Each cherry has two seeds that are extracted to produce coffee beans, and the cherries themselves are often discarded. New Wave Soda has given purpose to this source of “polite caffeine” in a variety of fruity flavors from apple to blueberry to mango, tangerine, and even cucumber that all feature natural sweeteners and colorings. 

Editor’s Pick (non-alcoholic)

Crafted Brand Co. Non-alcoholic Organic Sparkling Drinking Vinegars

The lone glass-bottled contender on this list will help you ditch the big-brand sodas as an option for a refreshing fizzy beverage. Whether you’re having a rehydration break for one or looking for something to serve to a crowd, no one will miss a high-fructose syrup chemical concoction with Organic Sparkling Drinking Vinegars from Crafted Brand Co. on hand. Each beverage offers one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in strawberry, blackberry, and ginger flavors inspired by family recipes passed on to owner Felicia Vieira. Don’t worry. They do not taste like apple cider vinegar but are pleasantly sweet and tart. All three flavors have been kid-tested, editor approved—and the ginger is as satisfying if not more than a traditional ginger ale. If you like pina coladas, (who else is singing Jimmy Buffet now?) Crafted also offers a line of cocktail mixers sweetened with agave, plus shrubs, organic tonic water, and a club soda made with Hawaiian sea salt.

Canned Beverages for Adults*

Image: Bivouac Ciderworks.

Outstanding Canned Hard Cider

Bivouac Ciderworks

Local cider company Bivouac is offering a new release around Labor Day, the Locals Only Citrus Cider featuring juicy tangerines and lemons from San Diego's organic Stehly Farms. This tart, juicy, slightly sweet cider is wrapped in a can featuring a painting of Windansea beach by artist Holly Dicecco.  

Image: Bambucha Kombucha.

Favorite Hard Kombucha

Bambucha Kombucha

Organic, chef-crafted and big on flavor, Bambucha Kombucha recently launched its hard kombucha line. Brewed locally in San Diego, their flavors include Tropical Guava, Blueberry Vanilla and Hawaiian Hibiscus all at 6% ABV. Don’t miss the Blueberry Vanilla, which infuses ripe organic blueberries into raw kombucha, softened with a hint of vanilla to give it an “a la mode” twist. 

Image: Michelle Stansbury.

Highly-effective Canned Cocktails 

Cutwater

One of the craft canned cocktail pioneers, Cutwater has an incredible selection of over 20 options. Their newest canned cocktail is a Piña Colada with a potent 13% ABV, made with the distillery’s Bali Hai Rum and sweet coconut cream liqueur. If you prefer a more savory sip, start the weekend with their canned Bloody Mary, a 10% ABV morning cocktail that is so delicious it doesn’t even require an over-the-top garnish! 

Image: Michelle Stansbury.

Coolest Hard Seltzer ​​

Passion Tree Hard Seltzers

Passion Tree Hard Seltzers, brewed in Poway, offers a lightly carbonated, 5.5% ABV, gluten-free seltzer that is cold brewed from sugar cane. Passion Tree’s goal is to plant 50,000,000 million trees worldwide and plant one tree for every case of Passion Tree Hard Seltzer sold.

Greatest Vodka Sodas 

Image: Saint Archer.
Saint Archer Grapefruit & Blood Orange Vodka Soda

Saint Archer Brewing Company recently unveiled their first canned cocktail, the Saint Archer Vodka Soda, available in either Lime or Grapefruit & Blood Orange, both a light 5% ABV. The vodka sodas have only 100 calories, zero sugar, and are gluten-free. For the perfect balance of flavor, try the Grapefruit & Blood Orange.

Image: You & Yours Distilling Co.
You & Yours Vodka Soda

East Village’s You & Yours Distilling Co. offers either canned cocktails using their namesake spirits. Try their zesty Meyer Lemon Vodka Soda or the refreshing Cucumber Mint Vodka Soda. All You & Yours cans are made with all natural ingredients and are gluten-free.

Bartender’s Pick 

RB Inn Old Fashioned

Rancho Bernardo Inn has tapped its Chef’s Garden to create brand new canned cocktails, using fresh herbs grown on the property. Try the house Old-Fashioned with Kikori Japanese Whiskey, jasmine lemongrass syrup created with fresh lemongrass from the garden, and orange bitters. 


*Must be 21 years of age. Please drink responsibly. And for the love of our planet—please recycle.

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Michelle Stansbury
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