The tea drinks are infused with hops, and made without sugars, additives or fermentation. The lack of fermentation differs them from kombucha, resulting in a 0.0% ABV drink. HopTea has six core SKUs.
Co-founders Dean Eberhardt and Andrew Markley launched HopTea in May 2018 with the intent of producing a unique alcohol alternative, separate from seltzers, sodas and juices. They use whole leaf tea and flowers for their base and organic flavorings.
At the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this month, HopTea sampled its latest flavor. The Hoplemousse One is made from a white tea base with grapefruit, and is similar to a citrus radler beer. It joins The Green Tea One, The Calm One, The Lemony One, The White Tea One and The Really Hoppy One.
Black tea, white tea, green tea and chamomile are all used as foundations to the beverages. HopTea is based in Boulder, Colorado and the core six are sold in retail, cafes and bars in the local Denver area.
HopTea told BeverageDaily that the black tea drinks are the most ‘hoppy,’ the green tea resembles a pale ale and the Lemony flavor is compared most to an authentic beer taste. The brand operates a taproom in Boulder that also rotates limited edition flavors.
Though the teas are positioned as a non-alcoholic beer alternative, HopTea said they have not experienced much competition in their category. Consumers like them as a standalone drink or a palate cleanser, and they mostly compete with kombucha and cold brew drinks.
“No one is directly aligned with what we’re doing,” HopTea said.
After the launch in 2018, HopTea sold at Colorado farmer’s markets before opening the taproom in summer 2019. The teas are packaged in 16oz BPA-free cans. Hoplemousse and Lemony contain 30 calories each and 6g of sugar, and Green Tea, White Tea, Calm and Really Hoppy have no calories and 0g of sugar.