Seltzer Works Doc Screens on PBS

Photo by Film First Co/ Ben Wolf

Seltzer Works, a seven minute mini-documentary about one of the last seltzer fillers, Kenny Gomberg of Brooklyn, will screen Tuesday August 24th at 10 p.m. (check local listings) on PBS’s Point of View series. Filmmaker Jessica Edwards, directed this engaging short.

Photo by Film First Co/ Ben Wolf

The thick glass bottles Gomberg uses allow him to carbonate at much greater pressure than either store bought or home carbonating systems. And the valve on those old bottles allows for dispensing seltzer without the entire bottle losing pressure. As Gomberg points put it in Seltzer Works, good seltzer should tickle the back of the throat when you drink it. And, of course, those bottles get reused over and over again.  

A publicist for PBS sent me a copy of Seltzer Works, and the shots of Gomberg’s beautiful old machinery alone are worth making sure to catch this short, which screens along with a feature documentary The Edge of Dreaming (which I have not screened).

I fondly remember seltzer delivery here in Los Angeles. Every week a deliveryman would drop off a case at the photo lab I worked at in the early 1980s. But, as far as I can tell, Los Angeles no longer has any seltzer delivery companies. As Gomberg says, “It’s not just a drink, it’s a piece of history.” I suspect that this piece of history may make a comeback. We’ve seen a cocktail renaissance of late. What about the decent seltzer required for those cocktails?

Seltzer Works website:

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  1. Good seltzer makes it easier to do the hippy hippy shake way down in Kokomo when you’re not worrying, being happy!

  2. That is soo cool! I have a lot of old Seltzer bottles that I collect. This is so awesome that it’s in Brooklyn. I’ll have to visit them!

  3. I wish we had one of these guys around here. We make our own soda pop out of seltzer water and fruit juice because we don’t like drinking corn syrup and all the diet stuff is full of chemicals. But I don’t like the fact that I have to buy plastic two-liters every week. I wish I could use a glass bottle and have it refilled.

    I can’t wait to see the documentary!

  4. Everett:

    Exactly! I like making flavored syrups, but I really hate buying the plastic bottles of soda water. Sometimes I buy Pelegrino because it’s at least in glass, but its mineral flavor effects the end result. It’s a pickle. I want my seltzer man!

    I just remembered talking to someone at a party who’d somehow laid his hands on a big CO2 tank and was making his own seltzer. This is what it comes to–our grandparents had seltzer delivered to their door while we have to have challenging industrial adventures to get the same product.

  5. Have you tried a seltzer bottle? I got mine at Barkeeper in Silver Lake – It’s stainless steel and the only waste it creates is a little inch and a half steel CO2 cylinder.

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