Seltzer, sparkling water, club soda, bubbly water, by whatever name you call it, carbonated H20 has been around as long as the very earth you stand upon. The winter park seltzer company has built upon the centuries-old tradition of seltzer production by becoming the first to craft artisanal seltzer from Florida water.
Our process of carbonating responsibly gathered floridan aquifer water follows the pioneering footsteps of Joseph Priestly, an Englishman who discovered the oxygen molecule. In the mid 18th century Priestley impregnated still water with recycled gas from a brewery and agitated it physically to create a beverage very similar to water flowing from the springs in France, Italy and Germany. By the time he developed this process, the owners of these bubbling springs had already been bottling and selling their own products, such as the Niederselters in Germany, which is where the name “seltzer” comes from. Schweppes, the popular beverage brand, was the first to use Priestley’s formula for commercial purposes
As the popularity of seltzer grew in Europe, English born American inventor John Matthews pioneered a new method to bring seltzer to drinking public. This crazy bastard used carbonic acid produced the by chemical reaction between sulfuric acid and marble dust that he collected from unused marble from construction sites around New York City. After purifying the gas he would add it to a tank of water and agitate according. The efforts of Matthews are credited with bringing about the soda fountain boom in the late 19th century.
The methods of Mr. Matthews were not always the cleanest and reportedly left a artificial and metallic taste in the water, but these methods would be refined over time. With the advent of compressed gas there is no longer the need to produce carbonic acid using trashed construction scraps, we can drive to a local beverage supplier and buy a tank of CO2. This ensures the clean, crisp taste is always consistent in our bottle of seltzer.
I hope you enjoyed this short history lesson! if you’d like to check out some more information on the history of sparkling water here are some informative links! the last one even has a podcast discussing the history and present rise of seltzer!