When you think of "extreme" beverages, you probably think of Four Loko and the like. But the latest such beverage to hit the market is neither caffeinated nor alcoholic, because it's ... water. It's not even carbonated water. "Liquid Death," which will set you back $21.99 for a 12-pack of tallboys, is mountain water, sourced and canned in the Alps, with a slightly alkaline pH of 8.2. But instead of coming in a minimalistic white box or being marketed as "distinctly fresh, crisp, and pure," it comes in aluminum cans festooned with skulls and promises to "murder your thirst." More on the water and reactions to it:
- Liquid Death is the brainchild of former Netflix creative director Mike Cessario, who has so far raised $2.25 million for the startup venture. The water has obvious punk and heavy metal influences, and Cessario explains to Business Insider that he wanted to find something that the "straight edge" punk subculture, which eschews alcohol and drugs, would identify with—in other words, a water brand that's not meant for the more typical "Whole Foods yoga moms" group of consumers, he says.
- Cessario also aimed for eco-consciousness: He says the aluminum cans Liquid Death comes in are more environmentally friendly than both bottled and boxed water (the Amazon.com description of the tallboys contains the lines, "Cans contain 20x more recycled material than plastic bottles" and "#DeathToPlastic"), and he also plans to donate 5 cents per can sold to clean up plastic trash in the ocean.
- But reaction has been harsh. The Washington Post says this "is just the latest, and perhaps the ultimate, example of using toxic masculinity to market a product," Fox News and others point out that the water is meant for "tech bros," and tweets like this one argue the product is "a whole other level of fragile masculinity."
- And then there are those who are less than impressed with Liquid Death's level of eco-consciousness: "Liquid Death is ... just environmentally conscious enough to earn a merit badge," writes Helen Holmes at the Observer. "But wouldn’t the best thing for the planet be not to manufacture these foul-looking, truly puerile cans at all?"
- But at the Next Web, Matthew Hughes argues all those people are wrong. He acknowledges that "an Ed Hardy version of water" is a little "silly," but notes it could be useful for those in recovery: "Externally, it looks indistinguishable from a normal can of craft lager, making it easier for teetotalers to blend in when stood in a crowded bar. For recovering alcoholics wishing to socialize without being pressured to drink, the product could act as a welcome camouflage, allowing them to sustain their relationships while opting out of something that’s utterly ubiquitous in Western society."
(Tech workers are also into giving up food, kind of