Skip to main content

Holocene is a CBD Seltzer Made With Glacial Icebergs

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Joe McAneney wants you to save glaciers by drinking them.

Not in the way you might think, though. Instead, by kicking back with a trendy, canned beverage that just happens to be made with the purest water on Earth, released prematurely from ancient glaciers for your drinking pleasure due to climate change’s death grip on these moving rivers of ice.

That’s the idea behind Holocene, a new, CBD-infused sparkling water made from glacial icebergs fished from Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Launched in May 2019, Holocene is produced by McAneney’s company The High Expedition, a Talkeetna, Alaska-based dispensary.

“We want to be advocates to save and protect Alaska’s glaciers,” says McAneney. “We want to educate people, make them think.”

Living with Alaska’s legendary rugged wilderness practically in his backyard, McAneney sees first-hand how many of Alaska’s estimated 100,000 glaciers are melting or retreating at unprecedented rates. So he wanted to create a truly Alaskan product; something that embodied the spirit of adventure the state is known for, but that also highlighted its spectacular landscapes and increasing fragility in the face of climate change. The result: Holocene, named after the current geological epoch which began 11,700 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

“The name is definitely part of the message, it gives it more meaning,” McAneney explains. The message is clear: You’re drinking the last ice age. This water is hundreds or even thousands of years old.

But to produce Alaska’s first certified glacial ice product, you first need to get the glacial ice. For that, McAneney teamed up with the only man for the job: Scott Lindquist.

A true Alaskan “sourdough” (local slang for a hardy, long-time resident), Lindquist has been harvesting glacial ‘bergs from Alaskan waters since 1992. Originally a herring fisherman before the Exxon Valdez oil spill, he now holds the longest-leased and only active permit to harvest tidewater glacial icebergs in the state. In addition to using his ice to make local artisan spirits (and now Holocene), Lindquist also sells it as high-end cocktail ice for bars around the world. And he does it all while technically being legally blind from optic atrophy.

Collecting the glacial icebergs used to make Holocene is an adventure in and of itself. It’s a three-hour drive from Talkeetna to Whittier, a popular tourist port in Prince William Sound from which Lindquist’s company, Alaska Glacial Ice, departs. For Holocene, Lindquist primarily sources his bergs from the active tidewater Blackstone and Beloit Glaciers, maneuvering the boat as close as safely possible to the front wall of the glaciers to find the freshest, most recently calved bergs. Once a desirable iceberg is identified (often with the aid of a hockey stick used to roll the berg over and examine it), Lindquist and his team attach ice screws and hand-winch it aboard. The icebergs can weigh anywhere from hundreds to thousands of pounds.

holocene sparkling glacier water
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The icebergs are then ferried back to Talkeetna, where, in partnership with Denali Brewing Company, they’re melted, filtered, carbonated, and canned in cans that feature vintage photos of mountaineers on Denali. The contents of each can are infused with 10mg of nano-CBD (derived from organic hemp) and flavored with natural raspberry and lime or black cherry; just a hint of flavor so that it doesn’t overpower the taste of the “last perfect piece of water that the planet has,” as Lindquist puts it.

“We don’t want to taint the glacier water,” McAneney agrees, saying that an unflavored version will be available soon as well. (And funnily enough, glacial water may be the perfect fit for sparkling water, as, when glacial ice is thawed, the release of trapped, compressed air is called “bergy seltzer.”)

But Holocene’s main mission is first and foremost about raising awareness about the plight of Alaska’s glaciers. The cans themselves feature information, and Holocene’s social media pages are full of videos, images, and other content showing how the icebergs are harvested and making the issue as “in your face” as possible (a full-length documentary is even in the works).

But Holocene is not without its critics. Harvesting ice from endangered glaciers is a controversial idea, and in promoting Holocene (with their tagline “Hand-harvested icebergs from Alaska, U.S.A.”) McAneney has had to spar with more than a few detractors.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

“It can get people riled up,” McAneney says. “It’s a very provocative product.”

But that’s part of the goal: It grabs people’s attention and “starts a conversation,” allowing McAneney to engage with people and begin a dialogue about the product and climate change. McAneney says that usually when people are open to talking with him, in the end, they understand what he’s trying to do.“Some people you’ll never change their minds. But if we can change a few …”

There may even be an upside to harvesting the icebergs. With glaciers calving more frequently, more and more freshwater is released at unnatural rates, disrupting the chemical balance of the saltwater bays and affecting local flora and fauna. Removing the bergs can prevent too much melting too quickly. While only removing a handful of icebergs at a time seems like a drop in the bucket, no active harm is being done to the glacier or surrounding environment, and maybe it even does some good.

McAneney also says that his group might start partnering with scientists and glaciologists to share data and observations to help them to track changes. “Scott’s been doing this for 25 years, he’s seen how they [the glaciers] are changing.”

holocene sparkling glacier water
Image used with permission by copyright holder

And above all, it’s about scale: McAneney doesn’t want the operation to get so big it ceases to be sustainable or becomes a detriment to the mission.

“It will never be mass-produced,” McAneney says. “The icebergs, they’re a limited resource, they’re going away, and that’s a big part of our message.”

Indeed, some of their marketing materials come with this slogan: “Available while glaciers last.”

You can purchase 12-packs from The High Expedition in Talkeetna or other dispensaries around Alaska or you can order them online at

Editors' Recommendations

Zoe Baillargeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Zoe Baillargeon is an award-winning travel writer and freelance journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. She covers travel…
A huge Le Creuset Cyber Monday sale just started — from $10
Carrots in the Le Creuset Signature cast-iron skillet.

Cyber Monday deals all over the place right now, with many of the biggest retailers discounting some popular products. You’ll appreciate this if you’re in the market for some holiday gifts for the chef in your circle, or if you're looking for something new for your own kitchen. Amazon is having Cyber Monday Le Creuset sale, with all sorts of high quality cookware seeing discounts and prices as low as $10. Skillets, Dutch ovens, mugs, and other kitchen items are available in this sale, so click over to Amazon and add something by Le Creuset to your kitchen.

Why You Should Shop the La Creuset Cyber Monday Sale at Amazon
Le Creuset is a premium cookware brand. It makes high quality cookware that both looks great and cooks great. It’s one of the most sought-after brands when it comes to a discount, as its premium reputation brings with it premium prices. But with this Le Creuset sale at Amazon you can save on cookware across the board. The Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Oval Dutch Oven regularly costs $445, but

Read more
Slow cooker recipes: Cincinnati chili is easier than you think
Put it over spaghetti, we dare you
Cincinnati chili

This time of year, everyone loves good slow cooker recipes. You want one that warms, comforts, and greets you with a delicious scent the moment you walk through the door after a long, chilly autumn day. The slow cooker is a beautiful thing for that very reason - not only does it provide a nearly prep-free meal, but it's the gift that keeps on giving with its delicious promise of a warm and hearty meal through tantalizingly exquisite aromas filling the house all day. And while we all love common slow cooker recipes - a meaty pot roast or Kung Pao chicken, sometimes what we're craving at the end of the day is something a bit out of the ordinary. That's why we love this recipe for Cincinnati chili.
Cincinnati chili is tremendously unique in the world of varying (sometimes competing) American chili dishes. Its flavors are warmer and more exotic, which makes sense as its origins aren't American at all, but Greek. In the early 20th century, Greek-Macedonian immigrant brothers John and Tom Kiradjieff opened a restaurant in Cincinnati. Their chili was flavored with traditional ingredients like chili pepper and cumin but also included more familiar Mediterranean ingredients such as allspice and cinnamon. The deliciously comforting dish caught on, and Cincinnati chili quickly became a regional favorite.
This spicy chili is traditionally served over spaghetti with a generous topping of shredded cheddar on top. Depending on the locals you happen to ask, the best way to enjoy this chili is over spaghetti, with or without cheese, kidney beans, and/or grated white onion. Within these barriers, one cannot go wrong. Just make sure to always, always use your fork to cut the pasta into bite-size portions. Twirling is absolutely out of the question.

Cincinnati chili recipe
While spaghetti is the traditional choice for serving Cincinnati chili, another popular option is pouring a generous heap over hot dogs. If you ask us, this is the absolute best way to make chili dogs.

Read more
Ice cream bread is the lifehack your internal fat kid needs
You like ice cream. You like bread. Why not mix them together?
ice cream bread recipe 6289263 1920

Social media's hottest new recipe trend that's floating around is one that we deeply, truly approve of. Naturally, things like butter boards and new coffee concoctions are always appreciated by those of us who love a fun culinary trend. But there's something about this one that just really tickles us pink - ice cream bread. Maybe it's the tempting simplicity of the name that combines two of the most wonderful things in the world. Maybe it's the fact that the recipe itself is almost simpler than the name. Maybe it's the sprinkles. Whatever the reason, ice cream bread is our new favorite trendy treat.

When we saw this video making the rounds, we decided that we needed to give ice cream bread a try, and the results were pleasantly surprising.

Read more