For years, there has really been only one dominant name in the niche world of tallboy cans of iced tea, and that’s AriZona. But now there’s a new challenger to the cult-favorite tea titan beloved by hypebeasts everywhere: terminally online water brand Liquid Death.
On Wednesday, Liquid Death announced its first non-water offering via a commercial that involves a bunch of rowdy grandmas doing Jackass-esque pranks, and directed by none other than Jackass creator Jeff Tremaine. The new line-up includes a trio of teas, all with appropriately metal names and served in the brand’s now-iconic 19.2-ounce cans. There’s the Armless Palmer, a riff on the classic Arnold Palmer; the Grim Leafer, a lightly sweetened Earl Grey; and the Rest in Peach, a black tea that tastes a whole lot like Haribo’s gummy peach rings. Each is spiked with a little agave nectar for sweetness, a 30 milligram “microdose” of caffeine, and according to the can, 100 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamins B6 and B12.
For those who are unfamiliar with Liquid Death, the brand launched in 2017 with a single product: tallboy aluminum cans of water sourced from the Austrian alps. It was positioned as an alternative to both energy drinks and booze, the former for athletes like skateboarders and BMX bikers and the latter for those who wanted something non-alcoholic to drink at the bar or a concert. And against the predictions of those who insisted the brand was just a dumb fad, Liquid Death proved itself an impossible-to-ignore juggernaut in the water industry. Now valued at more than $700 million, it has grown from a meme into a major player, one that can realistically compete with a beverage giant like AriZona, which was valued at around $2 billion in 2014.
The new, bright gold Liquid Death cans announce that this tea will “murder your thirst, and turn its insides into balloon animals to book at children’s birthday parties.” But despite this arguably juvenile marketing, the teas are poised to follow in the footsteps of the water that preceded them — which is now available in major retailers like Whole Foods and 7-Eleven — because, like the water, they’re actually good.
The canned teas sort of taste like a grown-up version of the AriZona cans that I, and countless others, used to chug by the case. But in Liquid Death’s version, there’s only a hint of sweetness, just enough to tamp down the tannins in the tea, and a tiny bit of caffeine to help you power through a meeting now that a full can of Red Bull makes you too jittery. Don’t let the extreme, goth-ish branding fool you — these teas are perfectly appropriate for the most bland and basic among us.