WCBS 880

'Sweet Spot' With Mike Sugerman: Seltzer Maker Is Last Of His Kind In New York

March 23, 2018 - 7:00 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Craft water?

A Brooklyn man is making it in a business that has all but fizzled out – continuing the fourth generation as a seltzer man.

And as Mike Sugerman reported in “Sweet Spot,” Alex Gomberg is the last of his kind in New York.

Gomberg is a man who just bubbles over at work.

"This says Brooklyn, New York,” he gushed, showing off the etched label on one of his wares. “They all have an individual etching.”

Gomberg can’t help it. He’s got ice water running through his veins.

“I’m fourth generation,” he said. “This is what I was used to.”

What he’s used to is seltzer.

“Gomberg Seltzer Works is the last siphoned filling station left in all of New York; one of three left in the country,” Gomberg said.

Some of the equipment in Gomberg’s Canarsie plant is 100 years old. Sometimes, he trades parts with the other two factories left – they just don’t make ’em like they used to, or at all.

The bottles are a work of art.

If you buy sparkling water in the store, you are not getting the 60 pounds of pressure in the bottles the put in at Gomberg’s plant. His seltzer contains salt, no additives, and no flavoring.

It’s good old New York City tap water, triple filtered, with CO2.

“Our motto is good seltzer should hurt. Our seltzer has bite,” Gomberg said.

Sugerman took a spritz. He was right – it had a bite and it hurt. But was it ever good.

“Seltzer was common for me. But when my friends came over to my hose, they looked at the seltzer bottles and said: ‘What is this? I mean, I don’t even know what this is. Is this the stuff that clowns use or something?’” Gomberg said. “No, this is what people get home delivery.”

And they still do get home delivery. While there were once there hundreds of seltzer routes, now there are only four, and Gomberg runs one of them – the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys.

A case of 10 bottles starts at $40, and Gomberg has 300 accounts. And like his water, business is not flat.

Gomberg also will deliver the makings of an egg cream – another reason his business is a sparkling success.