The hard seltzer brand, Grown Folks, isn’t anything like any other seltzer brand on the market. That’s because the flavors aren’t as simple as raspberry or lemon, but they are reflective of Danica Dias’ background, the founder and CEO. When hard seltzer became a mainstay in the booze sector, she didn't see any brands that reflected her background. She wanted to tell a story through the flavors that others could connect to, so the drinks are inspired by soul food dishes from Dias’ childhood. More specifically, they are an ode to family and the women in Dias’ family that she learned so much from, like peach cobbler and ambrosia.

“For decades, I watched my grandmother and great-grandmother fill their homes with an abundance of love, tradition, and soul,” she said. “And at the heart of it all was the food and drinks that we shared while we gathered.”

Photo from Grown Folks

Her Peach Cobbler hard seltzer is bright in color and transports you back in time to a kitchen with that hot dish coming out of Granny’s oven. Alongside the dessert-inspired drink are two other hard seltzers, the Ambrosia — almost like fruit salad with a blend of citrus and tropical fruits, with hints of sweetness — and the Key Lime, which blends tart and tangy perfectly with rich, sweet creaminess to resemble a key lime pie. Along with the seltzers, the (first!!) female- and Black-owned brand also makes a premium craft beer called Front Porch, an American Light Lager that’s a pale straw-like color with subtle floral aromas. Spoon chatted with Dias on her brand, inspiration, and more.

Spoon University: What inspired you to create Grown Folks? What does it mean to you?

Danica Dias: I have worked for many large consumer packaged goods and hospitality brands over the years. Finally, during COVID, like many others, I found myself in a position to really reflect on what I wanted to do professionally, what I wanted to see out there in the market, and also what type of legacy I wanted to leave behind to my kids and future generations. I looked out there in the alcohol market, especially in the hard seltzer category, and didn’t see myself. 

SU: How does your background influence your brand?

DD: My background IS Grown Folks. I grew up strongly connected to my Louisiana Creole heritage and the way that my family would gather. As they gathered, they would eat, drink, and just act freely. The name “Grown Folks” is representative of this experience and the soul food dishes and flavors we grew up loving at all these family gatherings.

SU: On your website, it says, “Celebrate Black culture and soul food-inspired flavors.” What made you want to create hard seltzers based on dishes that have been enjoyed by so many?

DD: These flavors and dishes are familiar, comforting, and nostalgic to me and so many others. I knew that these flavor profiles would resonate with a large consumer base. They also have not really been done in alcohol and specifically with hard seltzer, so we’re offering something new and exciting for those who do not have any connection to soul food culturally or geographically.

SU: What was your thought process when creating these seltzers? Were there any defining flavors that you wanted to include?

DD: I knew I wanted my flavors to be sweet-focused and well-balanced. So we went with a completely neutral sugar brew base with zero aftertaste. We aim to be the best-tasting seltzer on the market, and we also wanted to use the freshest ingredients possible so we utilize real fruit juice as well.

SU: The cans are so beautiful by the way. What was the thought process behind creating the illustrations on the label?

DD: The thought process behind our branding and hero illustration on the cans was to visually represent what we stand for as a brand. It’s Creole vibes through a beautiful, celebratory, and inclusive scene with many different skin tones and body shapes enjoying life and having a good time. They are simply free to be themselves without judgment, boldly and vibrantly. I worked with a talented illustrator out of San Diego, Alexia Briana Taylor, who created our signature font used in our logo and the can illustration.

SU: Which hard seltzer is your favorite?

DD: I absolutely love Ambrosia. It is just so fun and delicious but also rather complex. There is nothing like it out on the market. It is incredibly distinct.

SU: Are you planning to expand to more flavors? If so, could you give us a little hint?

DD: You can expect us to continue to innovate with new flavor profiles in the near future. But for now, our focus is on connecting consumers to our current three signature flavors.