A case of Liquid Death on my desk drew its share of glances: Tall boy cans with Gothic navy lettering and gold detailing that, upon closer inspection, depicted melting skulls in agony.
They looked like beer. Pulling the tab, “phssst,” felt and sounded like opening a can of Tecate. Despite the goth imagery, the name and 51 seconds of bloody cartoon gore advertising Liquid Death on YouTube, these cans belied a gentle temperament: Still, alkaline spring water ciphoned from the Austrian Alps.
Liquid Death was all soft texture and alkalinity, the straight edge of the drinks world. Mike Cessario, a former Netflix creative director, launched the brand earlier this year partly as a way to divert water drinkers from their environmentally destructive dependence on plastic bottles — most of which end up in landfills, where they take 400 years to decompose. “Let’s be clear, Liquid Death is a completely unnecessary approach to bottled water,” reads the website. Every piece of branding is silly, theatrical, violent, or all three.
So it may seem improbable that this spring, Cessario raised $1.6 million in seed funding from people like the co-founder of Twitter, and the influx of cash spurred a flurry of news stories in May. The hubbub has died down a little, but in a beverage landscape where a new functional drink seems to launch every day (half of them containing CBD), Liquid Death may have staying power for a basic reason: It’s really tasty water. Soon, I was doling out cans to co-workers. I took some home to drink with dinner. Back at work the next day, I noticed a few more cans had vanished from my desk.
The only way to score more, for now, is via the Liquid Death website (19.08 for a case of 12 16.9-ounce cans), or on Amazon ($21.99 a case). “Does Liquid Death have alcohol in it?” reads one of the customer questions on Amazon.
“No. But Liquid Death does contain microscopic chain-saw maniacs that will savagely dismember the thirst neurons in your brain,” reads the answer. That’s the only buzz that you’ll get: A chain-saw buzz.
Liquid Death Mountain Water, liquiddeath.com