My Drynuary: 'What inspires me? There are so many amazing brands within this space!'

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Jordan Bass and Nick Taranto launched HOP WTR in 2020
Jordan Bass and Nick Taranto launched HOP WTR in 2020

Related tags alcohol-free non-alcoholic NABLAB Us

In our series of interviews with innovators in the low/no alcohol space, California entrepreneurs Jordan Bass and Nick Taranto talk to us about their experience in founding and growing HOP WTR: an alcohol-free sparkling hop water with nootropics.

BD: What sets your brand apart from the rest?

HOP_WTR inset

Nick:​ Unlike other products in the space, each can of HOP WTR is packed with a brewer-approved blend of Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic and Azacca hops plus mood-boosting ingredients and delicious fruit flavors.

Together, this delivers a balanced and sessionable drinking experience with a citrusy, piney flavor reminiscent of your favorite IPA, without the booze.

While often overshadowed by the effects of alcohol, hops have natural calming benefits. HOP WTR combines the benefits that are in hops with mood-boosting, stress-busting adaptogens and nootropics and infuses it all in crisp sparkling water that not only tastes good but makes you feel good.

In addition, each can offers 120% of your daily vitamin C to neutralize free radicals, support collagen production and enhance brain function.

Where can we find HOP WTR?

Nick​: HOP WTR is currently available in six flavors (Classic, Mango, Blood Orange, Lime, Peach, and new limited-release Ginger Limeade) and is available at retailers nationwide. Retailers include Wegmans,Target, H-E-B, Kroger, Harris Teeter, BevMo!, Erewhon, Gelson’s, Hy-Vee, Lunds & Byerlys, Total Wine, and more. HOP WTR is also available on,, Thrive Market and goPuff for those who may not be near a retailer but still want to indulge in a HOP WTR.

What interested you in the alcohol alternative space?

Jordan​: Like many dads in their 30’s, Nick and I had a mutual appreciation for celebrating the small moments like tackling a hike or catching some waves. After a period of celebrating with a few IPAs, we found that we were left with a full-belly, foggy-headed feeling that made its way into the following day.

While we hated the feeling, we didn’t want to give up on the ritual of celebrating small moments. So, amid our crazy hours and dad duties, we decided to create a booze-free brew that would leave us feeling ready to take on what was in front of us. We turned the backyard into our very own micro-brewery and began tinkering with different ingredients, formulas and flavors that would give us the hop flavor we craved and the hydration we needed. After nine months, we landed on a recipe we not only loved but felt passionate about, and launched HOP WTR.

Nick:​ While there was a lot that went into the creation of HOP WTR, it never once felt like work to us. In a busier-than-ever world, we want to share the chill feeling we all crave, canned up and ready to be enjoyed, so no one has to choose between having fun or missing out.

What do your jobs involve?

Jordan:​ As co-founder and CEO, my primary job is to bring great people into the organization and give them the tools and capital they need to be successful. We have an incredible team of dedicated experts in their field that make HOP WTR a success. I also have the privilege of working with our incredible retail, distribution, customers and partners. They make it happen for us everyday. I love working with them and being in the field with our customers.

Nick:​ My role as Chairman is to make sure we have the right strategy, the right structure, the right staffing, and the right money to deliver on our goals. The last twelve months have been particularly interesting (aka challenging!) as the capital markets moved from low interest rates and wanting growth at all costs to more expensive capital that wants responsible growth and a solid path towards profitability. Balancing profitability with growth is now one of the top priorities for any young brand.

How have you seen the low/no market change?

Nick​: The low and no-alc category is on fire: low/no-alc beer, wine and spirits sales in the US total approximately $4B and are up +46% from 2-years ago.  We know that 30-35% of the legal drinking age population doesn’t drink alcohol, and those that do drink are looking to moderate their intake. This provides a tremendous opportunity for our brand to engage with consumers looking to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol.

Jordan​: Hoppy water has quickly become a category of its own in the craft beer space. With tremendous momentum, and delicious flavors adding incrementality, HOP WTR is the leading brand. In 2022, hoppy water was the #4-ranked growth style in all of Craft Beer. As the sober-curious movement continues to grow in 2023, we can expect that the low/no market will continue to gain momentum among consumers.

Any January activities to highlight?

Jordan​: January is a key time for HOP WTR, so we wanted to celebrate with some really fun LTOs and campaigns. In December, we launched our HOP LOCKR, which is a locker that was created to lock up booze for the month of January so our consumers can avoid temptation and stick to their wellness goals. Fans were able to sign up for a locker on our site, and 50 people received a locker along with a month’s supply of HOP WTR to make the month-long challenge easier than ever.

We also partnered with artist Bryce Wong​ to create a limited-edition shipping box, which features a one-of-a-kind design created just for HOP WTR. Bryce has worked with other game changing brands like Nike, and all orders placed throughout January will be shipped in his limited-edition Dry January box. We also partnered with fitness trainer and wellness activist Kaisa Keranan​ who created a limited edition Slowtide​ fitness towel, which will be available for purchase on as part of our fitness bundle.

We have a lot of fun initiatives in the pipeline, and we can’t wait for you to see what’s in store for HOP WTR this year!

What inspires you on your low/no alcohol journey?​ 

Nick​: Living in California, we both live pretty active lifestyles - from bouldering in Joshua Tree to surfing in Venice Beach - we always love to enjoy the outdoors and then kick back with good friends and a beer afterwards.

However, as we get older, we’ve been feeling the negative effects of alcohol more than we did when we were younger. It’s important for us to be able to live a healthier lifestyle without having to feel like we’re missing out on a good time.

When we want that bold hoppy flavor, but don’t want to feel sluggish or bloated from a beer, HOP WTR has been the perfect solution and also helps us stay hydrated so we can have the energy to enjoy our next adventure or family time. That clear headed, mood-boosted feeling we get from HOP WTR really helps keep us on-track with our low alcohol journey and inspires us to be our best selves every day.

Jordan​: There are so many amazing brands within the space - we’ve seen lots of household names come out with no/low-alc. options as well as startups looking to create something new within the category. Our consumers and their positive response to HOP WTR’s flavors and functional benefits have really kept us inspired and makes us want to continue to create and innovate within the no-alc. space. We’re thrilled to see that there is a growing market for low and no-alc. beverages and that more people are interested in adopting a ‘sober-curious’ lifestyle.

What's your favorite product from your line-up?

Jordan​: I love them all!! So hard to choose. I am currently enjoying Classic and Lime. Classic gives me the great taste of hops which I love and hits the spot when I want a beer. Perfect for Dry January. Lime is delicious all day long. We use Mexican limes which have a nice tart taste and pair perfectly with our citrus and pine-forward hops.

Nick​: HOP WTR has something for everyone; if you like fruit-forward beverages our Peach and Mango flavors are perfect and for those who enjoy a bit of citrus, Lime and Blood Orange will become your go-to. And of course, our Classic is ideal for those who want that traditional piney, hoppy taste.

I love the Peach - the slight sweetness blends with our hops in a unique, delicious, and very satisfying way!

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