PRESS Premium Alcohol Seltzer
PRESS creator, founder and owner—Amy Walberg
Launching a boutique adult beverage brand is a story that might normally begin on Madison Avenue instead of Madison, Wisconsin. But Amy Walberg, founder of the new alcohol seltzer beverage brand PRESS, was never one to rest on convention. Amy Walberg founded PRESS to marry her love of seltzer and celebration. Her premium PRESS alcohol seltzers elevate every occasion with a unique blend of natural fruits, fresh spices, and the effervescence of a crisp seltzer. Between professional and personal, Walberg’s travel miles were awe-inspiring. Exposed to far-flung places—and flavors—that would influence the beverage brand she would come to create, Walberg was at the same time crystalizing her personal lifestyle. In 2015, armed with a career’s worth of business insight, she experienced what now seems like a providential moment. Over dinner with a trusted colleague, Walberg remembers musing over the fact that there were limited choices for light carbonated alcohol beverages in the market beyond beer and wine. And as an avid seltzer drinker, Walberg longed for a drink that was a refreshing balance of flavors and effervescence with a touch of alcohol. It was what Walberg describes as her perfect storm—the moment a light-hearted discussion about a lack of beverage choices and an open market niche was spliced with her idea of building a business that would meld professional pursuits with her personal lifestyle and priorities. Finding work-life balance had always been a challenge for Walberg, a single mom with a young son and daughter. The idea of creating a national beverage brand supported by a company reflecting her deeply held values about life priorities, product quality, social responsibility and environmental stewardship was irresistible. That dinner discussion sparked Walberg’s inner entrepreneur and PRESS was, at least in theory, born on a table napkin like so many epic undertakings. The product that emerged was exactly what Walberg envisioned—a lighter, lower-alcohol beverage, appropriate for special occasions or relaxed afternoons on the veranda, with delicate flavors that appealed to those seeking an alternative to wine, beer and traditional malt beverages. But if creating a uniquely flavored alcohol seltzer beverage from scratch sounds like a formidable challenge, going to market in a rising tide of flavored malt and “sweet beer” offerings from the biggest names in the business was doubly daunting.
PRESS may have been one of the first fruit and spice infused alcohol seltzers in the market, but Walberg knew the competition would be closing that gap quickly. The pressure was a catalyst for Walberg. The next two years really was the stuff of Madison Avenue— researching flavors and markets, crafting and testing formulas, sourcing manufacturing, packaging and distribution solutions, all while simultaneously fleshing out the operational and business models. She was on the path to create the finest premium alcohol seltzer on the market, and if long hours and relentless testing were the cost, unparalleled taste would be the reward.
Fast-forward to 2018—PRESS is on the shelves in XYZ markets, sales are climbing at an average XYZ percent and Walberg’s fledgling brand is fast becoming what she calls “a real contender.” Now in its 3rd year of production, PRESS is currently concentrating on supplying a growing network of retailers, distributors, wholesalers and partners while expanding into new markets like Salt Lake City, Chicago, Buffalo and Boston. Comparatively low calorie and carbohydrate counts and the unique seltzer, no-aftertaste fruit-and-spice flavor experiences are winning combinations, and Walberg is expanding flavor profiles beyond already popular and exotic selections like pomegranate ginger and grapefruit cardamom.
PRESS represents a true point of difference that audiences are responding to as they eschew traditional beer and wine offerings, and Walberg is glad retailers are giving consumer “another option.”