How Wegmans' Ginger Seltzer Became a Cult-Status Drink

One can makes a stressful day a little smoother.

Wegman's Ginger Seltzer

Rimma Bondarenko / Shutterstock

As a lactose-intolerant person who loves cheese and has a generally anxious disposition, my tummy hurts sometimes. In college, I quelled my anxieties about life after graduation, midterms, student media drama, and who I was going to bring to a sorority formal with 20 oz. bottles of Diet Ginger Ale, purchased at the Wawa on 38th and Spruce in Philadelphia, which was open 24 hours a day. I’d carry them from the library to the offices of the student newspaper, like little security blankets to wash down late night pizza or sweetgreen salads. 

Now, as I near my thirtieth birthday, the artificial sweeteners of Diet Ginger Ale just don’t hit the way they used to — I tried a bottle recently and was admittedly disappointed in myself  for outgrowing it. Sometimes growth is painful, like realizing you’ll never wear a favorite skirt or call a certain friend again. I came out on the other side in this case, though, and I’ve got someone new: Wegmans Ginger Seltzer. I first tried this miracle elixir in 2020, shortly after Wegmans opened in Brooklyn (thank you Wegmans, we’re so happy to have you here). The green cans call back to the classic ginger ale packaging, but they’re  unsweetened, so you actually get some spice from the ginger. 

Like all of Wegmans’ house-brand seltzers, the ginger flavor is sold only by the case, and I happily carry these boxes up three flights of stairs to my apartment ⁠— that’s how you know the love is real. Having these seltzers in my fridge feels like a liquid security blanket. If I get a stomach ache from a stressful email (freelancing involves many stressful emails) or simply eat more dairy-filled ice cream than my body can handle, I know a ginger seltzer will help. 

Whenever I post about these zingy seltzers, in any format, I hear voices of support from fellow fans. I once posted a Tiktok that got very few views but someone took the time to comment “elite seltzer choice.” I felt seen and less alone. Wegmans is a grocery store with devoted fans, and this seltzer regularly comes up on must-try lists, along with the spicy tomato oil, sandwich counter, and excellent cheese selection (their feta in brine is fantastic as is the aged New York cheddar). One reviewer, who ranked all 18 Wegmans seltzer flavors, called the ginger an unexpected favorite, “When Wegmans released it, I was skeptical. But I've loved it ever since I tried it for the first time. It's so spicy and fresh tasting.” Another pregnant reviewer swore by it for settling her stomach. 

I’ve gone through years of therapy to help me identify anxiety triggers — caring too much about what people think is definitely one. I know some things that help me, like taking a walk, getting off my phone, drinking some water, and icing my vagus nerve (an ice roller is great for this, and yes, I learned about it on Tiktok) ⁠— ginger seltzer is part of that toolkit. I sometimes bring one in my bag for a seltzer walk (it’s better than bringing a water bottle because you don’t have to bring the empty can home) or a trip to the movies. 

One of my biggest sources of anxiety is work (surprise, surprise) and after a few years of going it alone, I needed some reinforcements and decided to invest in myself. Last year, I worked with a fantastic business coach as I prepared to freelance full-time and leave my part-time job. During a weekly call, I was struggling to get excited about the possibilities of full-time freelance life. I had a good reason for being down, as I had just found I was being underpaid at a gig, and had been for some time. I mentioned that I had found this out a few days earlier and subsequently asked for a raise, but couldn’t quite shake this icky feeling of being undervalued. She responded, “Of course you can’t. You haven’t completed the stress cycle.” When we freak out about something that’s not a physical threat, often there’s nowhere for the stress to go once the threat has passed. We haven’t had to run or fight, we’ve had to respond to an email, digest tough feedback, or have a difficult conversation and we’re left with all the adrenaline (and the physical side effects of being stressed).

On her advice, I read Burnout: Unlocking the Stress Cycle, which talks about the many ways we can complete that cycle in a modern context. When a wave of anxiety hits, from a threat real or imagined, I try to do something to move through it. This can include crying, exercising (the whole thing about exercise being good for your mood is unfortunately true), getting fresh air, or drinking something cold and soothing — you’ve guessed it, it’s ginger seltzer. I’m grateful that as I’ve grown, my beverage options have too. Next time you’re feeling less than stellar, crack one open and remember to breathe while you’re at it.

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