How Liquid Loss of life Water Took Over Entire Meals Cabinets


When Liquid Loss of life launched in 2017 — with only a rendering of its now-distinctive tall boy can hitting the web — everybody was fairly positive that this new water model was only a gimmick. Some referred to as it the “Ed Hardy of water,” recalling the worst trend development of the early ’00s. Others decried the water’s heavy steel branding and slogan — “homicide your thirst” — as poisonous masculinity run rampant. Largely, although, individuals simply thought that the model was a extremely focused stunt supposed to promote costly water to punk children, skate boarders, and anybody else dumb sufficient to pay a premium simply because it is available in a tall boy can emblazoned with a cranium.

But it surely seems that Liquid Loss of life — and that is coming from somebody who insufferably considers themselves a water snob — is fairly rattling good. Once I first tried it, I used to be a little bit frightened that the aluminum can would impart a tinny taste, like these stainless-steel water bottles, however the water inside was surprisingly impartial with a gentle minerality to maintain issues attention-grabbing. The may also makes the water really feel colder, a notion that’s apparently backed by science, making it style extra refreshing than the water that flows out of my Brita pitcher. That was very true after I reached for a cold can within the midst of a brutal hangover final week, which was additionally after I discovered that it’s surprisingly straightforward to chug a whole can in a matter of seconds.

Liquid Loss of life captured the creativeness of the web instantly. Inside a few months of its launch, the model had racked up greater than 100,000 followers on Fb, which on the time was a quantity that eclipsed greater manufacturers, like Aquafina, on the platform. A teaser video made with mock-ups of the cans netted greater than 3 million views earlier than anybody had ever tasted a single drop: That’s when co-founder Mike Cessario says he realized that he’d created one thing particular. Earlier than launching Liquid Loss of life, Cessario was a graphic designer by commerce, working at promoting companies and producing tasks for giant corporations like Netflix. Despite the fact that numerous the early commentary about Liquid Loss of life was unfavourable, Cessario knew that you just simply couldn’t purchase this type of buzz.

“Once I was working with these enormous company manufacturers, they might do every kind of testing and focus teams, however I by no means felt like these had been actually correct,” Cessario informed Eater in 2021. “Seeing how individuals available in the market are literally reacting to it on social media is a significantly better barometer for determining whether or not or not we had an concept that will truly work.”

Liquid Loss of life — a collaboration between Cessario, associate J.R. Riggins, bartender Pat Cook dinner, and artist Will Carsola — was conceived as a special solution to hydrate partiers. “A whole lot of the manufacturers which can be within the various area are actually unhealthy,” Cessario stated. “It’s numerous low-cost gross beer and power drinks that most individuals don’t wish to drink. We wished to offer individuals permission to take part on this cool rock-and-roll model with no need to eat one thing gross.” And water in a can gave the model the distinctive alternative to enchantment to the get together crowd: The tall boy beer can look is a pure match for a pageant, home get together, or bar.

The thought of water in a can isn’t completely overseas: It’s usually bought by doomsday preppers who tout its prolonged shelf life and ease of stacking, and is regularly distributed by catastrophe aid organizations in instances of disaster. However Liquid Loss of life’s genius lies in bringing collectively the can — which feels a lot like holding a beer — and the edgy branding. The workforce first approached naming the product like a craft beer, for apparent causes. A whole lot of names had been left on the reducing room ground, together with the hilariously dorky “Southern Thunder,” earlier than deciding on Liquid Loss of life.

Cessario takes situation with the notion that Liquid Loss of life is solely a gimmick. In his thoughts, just about the whole lot is a gimmick. He factors to power drink model Pink Bull, which has expanded effectively past the beverage world into excessive sports activities like grime biking or automobile racing with unimaginable success. Liquid Loss of life is trying to copy that in its personal approach. “Pink Bull is a gimmick. All it’s is soda. It’s the identical factor that’s been round ceaselessly, however they created this model round motion sports activities,” Cessario stated. “What does using a mud bike need to do with an power drink? These guys are skilled athletes, they don’t even drink that stuff. However they do drink water.”

As soon as they’d chosen a reputation, the corporate got down to produce its canned water, despite the fact that nobody concerned had ever introduced a brand new beverage to the market. They discovered an Austrian provider, who used mountain water effervescent up from a close-by spring to supply power drinks and different drinks, by actually looking out on Google. As luck would have it, the corporate was additionally in a position to can the water that will ultimately grow to be Liquid Loss of life, as a substitute of placing it into plastic bottles.

That was particularly essential to Cessario and his companions, who made “loss of life to plastic” the corporate’s motto. In line with the corporate, its aluminum cans are “infinitely recyclable.” “Plastic will not be even technically recyclable anymore as a result of it’s not worthwhile to recycle,” reads Liquid Loss of life’s web site. “Environmental economists now say it’s truly higher for the planet to easily throw your plastic within the trash in order that it requires much less trucking to get it to the landfill. Unhappy stuff.”

It could appear counterintuitive, however Cessario claims that it’s, one way or the other, extra sustainable for Liquid Loss of life to ship in water from the Alps than supply it from a spring within the States. “Ocean freight is way and away essentially the most carbon-efficient type of transportation by the pound, as a result of one big ship can transfer an insane quantity of cargo,” he stated. “You would wish one thing like 500 vehicles to maneuver that very same quantity of freight.” For the same comparability, Cessario additionally factors to information that signifies {that a} wine produced in France truly has a smaller carbon footprint than an analogous wine produced in California, because of the approach that it’s shipped.

When the water formally launched in 2019, Liquid Loss of life instantly discovered a loyal viewers that ranged from straight-edge hardcore children who get together with out booze to artists and skate boarders. Its first distributors had been bars, tattoo parlors, and liquor shops. Liquid Loss of life partnered with live performance promoter Stay Nation, which made the model the official water of main music festivals like Governors Ball and Austin Metropolis Limits. In 2020, the corporate collaborated with members of bands like Alkaline Trio, Anti-Flag, and Rise Towards to make a full-length punk album impressed by feedback left by Liquid Loss of life “haters,” full with tracks with titles like “Moderately Homicide Myself” and “Liquid Lame-O.” In collaboration with Tony Hawk, the model offered skateboard decks printed with the legendary skater’s precise blood to boost cash for charity. Skate children and punks had a model that was catering to them, that made them really feel seen, a lot in order that greater than 120 Liquid Loss of life fans have truly had the model’s brand tattooed on their our bodies.

“We all know that sure of us aren’t going to take a complete lot of convincing. They’re simply going to see the can, suppose it’s superior, and decide it up,” Cessario stated. “When you construct that core viewers, you’re giving individuals who aren’t a part of that tradition, like a soccer mother for instance, permission to take part on this cool, rock-and-roll model.”

However as a result of Liquid Loss of life is each visually compelling and refreshing, soccer mothers are those shopping for it. Simply earlier than the pandemic started in March 2020, Liquid Loss of life launched in Entire Meals shops throughout the nation and reported $10 million in gross sales. Now, the model is carried by a slew of shops throughout the globe, together with main retailers like 7-Eleven, Publix, and Wawa, with reportedly $130 million in whole gross sales in 2022.

Liquid Loss of life has additionally expanded its product line. In 2021, the model launched a line of glowing waters with a carbonation stage supposed to imitate that of beer. Then got here juice-spiked teas with names like Armless Palmer, which in 2023 impressed a cease-and-desist letter from the property of late golfer Arnold Palmer, who popularized the lemonade-and-iced-tea combo. In response, Liquid Loss of life modified the identify of the tea to Useless Billionaire, racking up tens of 1000’s of likes on Instagram.

And the model continues to develop: A brand new spherical of funding in late 2022 put the corporate’s valuation at $700, in line with CNN. “An important factor for us is to stay to our firm ethos, which is all about well being,” Cessario stated. “We’re not going to make some power drink stuffed with sugar simply because our viewers may prefer it.”

There’s no denying that Liquid Loss of life tastes good, and there’s something distinctly interesting about its can. It’s satisfying to carry — it dents in simply the fitting spot in your thumb to seize it — and does, typically annoyingly, encourage strangers to ask you simply what the hell you’re consuming. In some methods, Liquid Loss of life’s enchantment hinges on its capacity to make individuals say “WTF.”

“If you happen to’re strolling round a bar with a Liquid Loss of life and also you bump right into a stranger, it’s going to begin a dialog,” Cessario stated. “There’s actually no different water that may do this.”