America’s First Black-Owned Hard Seltzer is From Kansas City, & the Founders Just Got a $3 Million Investment From a Former Chiefs Player

Discover how Kansas City-based Kin Seltzer, America’s first-ever Black-owned hard seltzer brand, has secured a pivotal $3 million investment from former Chiefs player Dezman Moses, underlining a period of booming Black entrepreneurship in Missouri’s beverage sector

In a moment that captures the flourishing renaissance of Black entrepreneurship in Missouri’s beverage industry, Kin Seltzer, a Kansas City-based hard seltzer company focused on serving Black consumers, has secured a $3 million strategic investment from Dezman Moses, a former linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Joshua Lewis, Co-Founder of Kin Seltzer

This significant financial backing comes on the heels of the opening of Missouri’s first-ever Black-owned brewery just a few months ago, further signaling a transformative shift in an industry long overdue for diversification.

Trailblazing in the Seltzer Market

When Joshua Lewis co-founded Kin Seltzer alongside Kearra Johnson of UpDown Nightlife and Eric Martens of Border Brewing Company, their intent was clear: they were doing more than simply entering the burgeoning seltzer market, they were reshaping it. In a space that has predominantly targeted white consumers, Kin Seltzer emerged as a bold new entrant, tailoring its product and marketing to the Black community.

Left to Right: Eric Martens of Border Brewing Company, Kearra Johnson of UpDown Nightlife, Joshua Lewis

From Football Fields to Boardrooms

The investment from Moses isn’t just an injection of capital; it’s an endorsement of the brand’s radical ethos. Moses, who is also a podcast host, real estate investor, and sports analyst, is slated to join the startup’s board, further solidifying the company’s commitment to Black entrepreneurship. This alignment is more than happenstance. Lewis and Moses have been friends for over a decade and both recognized the opportunity to disrupt a traditionally monolithic market.

Dezman Moses – Entrepreneur, Investor, Podcast Host

More Than Just Flavor

At Kin Seltzer, the uniqueness doesn’t stop at the target market. Eric Martens, who oversees production, has been adamant about using only real fruit in their seltzer, setting it apart from competitors that often rely on artificial flavoring. Their first flavor, dubbed “Top Tier,” is a mouth-watering fusion of pineapple and peach, elevated with notes of lemon and lime.

Upending Social Spaces

Lewis, a marketing graduate from Park University who entered the nightlife scene soon after, had long aspired to increase the representation of Black individuals in social venues. His experience was instrumental in identifying the right outlets for Kin Seltzer, currently available in 15 Kansas City locations ranging from niche retail stores like The Black Pantry to popular establishments such as Society and Brickhouse.

Looking Ahead

The infusion of capital is expected to catalyze Kin Seltzer’s growth, not just in production but in brand experience. Lewis indicated that the funds will help implement updated can designs, a delivery van, and more comprehensive digital, on- and off-premise marketing.

In a market replete with competitors that often blur into sameness, Kin Seltzer’s unique identity and recent investment signify not just a business achievement but a social and cultural milestone.


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