Matt and Mark Seiler, the brothers behind Maine Root Root Beer, learned brewing at an impressionable age. The 37- and 40-year-old sibs, whose company, despite its name, is based in Austin, say they actually began boiling hops while still in high school in New Hampshire.
“We weren’t old enough to buy it,” Mark, the older brother remembers. “Being little derelicts, we got pretty good at it, too.”
The switch from alcoholic beer to Free Range Root Beer—an intensely flavored, organically sweetened fizzy drink that tastes like summer itself—occurred just as the brothers were sharing a semi-midlife crisis. They decided to make soda together full-time as a way to see each other more often, “and not just at funerals,” Mark says.
Maine Root Root Beer took off—it’s now available locally at farmers’ markets, Whole Foods and Central Market, among other venues, but also in 42 states and the UK. And this summer the Seilers, now both living in Austin, will debut a new, decidedly Texan soda.
“It’s a local prickly pear drink,” Matt explains. “Fair-trade certified, made with agave syrup.” And electric pink. The bright pink color connotes a high concentration of antioxidants. The only thing the new soda lacks is a name. “It’s not a lemonade exactly, and not really a punch,” Matt says. “It’s really, really pink.”
And really, really good.
More on Free Range Root Beer and the new prickly-pear drink at maineroot.com.