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Sipping on Success: The Rise of Joshua Lewis and the First Black-Owned Seltzer Brand in America


As an entrepreneur, the journey of self-discovery can be both exhilarating and daunting. For Joshua Lewis, an ex-athlete turned nightlife innovator and now the founder of the first Black-owned seltzer brand in the United States, this journey has been nothing short of transformative.


"Entrepreneurship is the most solo thing you can do in life," Joshua reflects. "You have to become super self-aware and super in tune with who you are in terms of triggers and emotions. And the things you actually care about, the things you prioritize."


Joshua's entrepreneurial odyssey began during his college days at Park University in Kansas City, where he not only played basketball but also immersed himself in the vibrant nightlife scene. It was this experience that inspired him to launch the UpDown Nightlife app, a platform that allowed partygoers to navigate the nightlife landscape with ease.


But Joshua's ambitions didn't stop there. In 2023, he set his sights on an even more ambitious goal: creating the first Black-owned seltzer brand in America. Kin Seltzer was born when Joshua attended a panel on the beer industry at Keystone Sessions in Kansas City's Crossroads district.


"Seltzer is a watered-down industry," Joshua explains. "When you have a dope can in your hand, you feel better when you drink it." And that's precisely what Kin Seltzer set out to achieve—to bring a unique, premium seltzer experience to the market.


Joshua's deep understanding of the nightlife industry and his ability to read consumer trends have been instrumental in Kin Seltzer's rapid success. In just one year, the brand has raised over $3 million in funding and is now available in 62 locations across Kansas City.


"You have to know and understand your customer," Joshua advises. "My customer is not the person who is picking alcohol up at the grocery store and going home to drink it. My customer is the person who enjoys the nightlife scene and frequents clubs and bars. Once you have that target down, it becomes easier to raise funding."


Joshua's entrepreneurial journey has been marked by a relentless pursuit of self-discovery and a deep commitment to empowering his community. "I do it for anyone who feels like they can achieve the impossible," he says.


To hear more about Joshua's inspiring story and the making of Kin Seltzer, be sure to watch episode 2 of the City Entrepreneur docuseries, available on the Fired Up Studios website and YouTube. And if you're in the Kansas City area, stop by Border Brewing on First Fridays in the Crossroads to experience Kin Seltzer for yourself. About Fired Up Studios:

Fired Up Studios is a video production company based in Kansas City, Missouri, that specializes in igniting entrepreneurial stories and empowering community change through engaging video productions. Founded by Zik Nwanganga, the company is committed to capturing the essence of events, delivering captivating videography, and providing a premium podcast recording studio

experience.

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