Interview: Charlie Markland, Bodega Bay

We catch up with founder of Bodega Bay Hard Seltzer to discuss creating and launching a brand new drinks brand in the UK, who inspires him, and why a single surf trip changed his life.


Hello, and congratulations on the launch of Bodega Bay Hard Seltzer.


For those who may not know, what is a Hard Seltzer?

It is a new type of alcoholic drink taking the US by storm. It is alcohol, with sparkling water and real fruit extracts. There are no added sugars, sweeteners, colours or preservatives which ensures that is very low in sugar and calories as well as utterly delicious.


Bodega Bay is made with BrewClear™ which is a filtered alcohol which is a trademarked process of fortifying fruit wine, fermented to a high strength to remove impurities and excess sugars and then filtered to give the purity of a spirit without the taste of one.


You have a very successful background in the drinks industry. What made you want to launch a Hard Seltzer in the UK? Where did the inspiration come from?


Whilst on a surf trip to Bodega Bay in California I heard about a type of drink that finally answered the unmet consumer need for a more natural, lower calorie and lower sugar alcoholic drink. I realised that this was something that I had been working towards for several years and I could use my experience to create the best Hard Seltzer brand here in the UK.


Creating and launching a brand new drinks brand in the UK is exceptionally hard. What have been your learning curves in bringing these products to market?


It’s all about timing, but not in the way some might think. I truly believe there will never be the perfect time to do something new that scares you. The ‘ducks’ will never all be in a row so go at everything full tilt and trust you will work it out along the way. The exception is production timing - if these ducks aren’t in a row you are in for a lot of sleepless nights!


Within the drinks industry, who inspires you?


Jack Scott and Alex Wright who founded DASH water, a British sparkling spring water infused with wonky fruit and vegetables. They have created a beautiful brand which is effectively a soft drink version of a Hard Seltzer and have been very generous sharing their valuable experiences with me along the way, which I am incredibly grateful for.


What makes this Bodega Bay stand out from the rest of the drinks we’ll be consuming over a summer BBQ?


Bodega Bay stands out against the vast majority of other RTD options as there are no added sweeteners or added sugars. Where normally you might reach for a cider or beer, Bodega Bay is an alternative option with far less calories and sugars.



Bodega Bay comes in two flavours Apple with Ginger & Acai Berry and Elderflower with Lemon & Mint, what made you choose these flavours?


Not only are they great flavour combinations but they also signal to the consumer that they will be light and refreshing to drink. Using delicious ingredients such as Acai berries which is a well-known superfood, also appeals to the type of drinker that will be looking for lower sugar and less calorie options.


How do we purchase it?


You can buy cans or cases at www.bodegabay.co.uk, with additional online listings imminent. Bodega Bay is available to enjoy at the three Boma London bar and restaurants as well as Goldfinch cocktail bar, The Prince in West Brompton and Pergola on the Roof at Olympia London which are all in the South West of the capital. We’ve also been present at a number of festivals already this summer, with Rewind Festival South still to come.


What are your future plans for Bodega Bay?

Since we launched Bodega Bay in July we have secured a number of stockists, however would like to see the brand in the major premium grocery retailers as well as within the on-trade across London and the UK.


Later this year we will be sponsoring two Tough Mudder events which is a valuable way of connecting with our audience and create brand-in-hand opportunities.



Charlie Markland founded TRIBEology Ltd to launch a new Hard Seltzer brand, Bodega Bay, in the UK for the first time. To launch this exciting new product in what is a young and emerging category in the UK, Markland taps into his 14 years’ experience in the drinks industry.


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www.instagram.com/bodegabaydrink


www.bodegabay.co.uk/