First, a bit of back story: Seltzers are trending. Bigly. In our anthropology of drinks, this will be the snoozer chapter. The lost years. Alas, these white, nearly ubiquitous cans have squeezed shelf space for more proper local craft beers over the past few years. The bubbly drink industry has put craft brewers in a noogie headlock that they're trying to wiggle their way out of.
Earlier this year local brewer Dennis Wehrman, who founded Franconia Brewing in McKinney, was talking about the direction of the craft beer industry over the past several years and told us, “Crazy stuff happened. If you look around in the market today, what is considered beer, it’s not actually beer anymore. It’s fermented water with carbonation in it and called seltzer."
In 2021, craft beer sales were down 4.6% over the previous year. The lag forced craft brewers to look for ways to recapture shelf space while shifting consumer taste back toward local craft beer. Some have even jumped in the pool. Why not — who doesn't love a good White Claw pool party? You know the charcuterie trays will be on point.
So, the folks at Tito's sat down and asked themselves: "Should we make a seltzer?" Their answer: "No." Instead, they made a can (just a can) for imbibers to make their own seltzers and sent out a press release about it.
Tito's, an Austin-based vodka distiller, sees the invasion of slim cans and clear sparkling liquids, with subpar ingredients at best, taking over the beer aisles and has come up with its own ground-break solution. They've released a limited-edition, 16-ounce, double-steel-walled refillable can so you can make your own seltzer.
From the press release:
Consumers won’t be able to find Tito’s in a Can* among the black cherry and mango-flavored beverages at their local store because the can is completely empty. That’s right, Tito’s is launching an empty can so fans can make their canned cocktails the way they like them: with Tito’s Handmade Vodka and literally whatever ingredients they want.Tito's in a Can* (always with the asterisk) can be purchased online at www.titosinacan.com or at their retail store in Austin. Each can is $20, and all the proceeds go to a nonprofit.
From their website: "Listen, we'd sooner make a completely empty can than make a seltzer," so they did. Genius.