Back in 1995, in Texas, Bert ‘Tito’ Beveridge struggled to sell his flavored vodka. But, like any good businessman, he remained focused.
Unphased, Tito went back to the drawing board and identified a gap in the market for locally-produced, handmade vodka. The aim was to become America’s Original Craft Vodka.
So, by switching his efforts to producing the smoothest, purest, unflavoured handmade vodka, his luck drastically changed:
A mere 10 years later, and he was pushing 150,000 cases a year.
In fact, Tito’s Handmade Vodka has now deftly overtaken Smirnoff as the best-selling distilled spirit in the US.
For a guy whose vodka expertise came from years of determined trial-and-error in an Austin shack, that’s rather impressive.
Tito’s end goal was to produce a simple, pure vodka whose unassuming packaging allows the corn-based, gluten-free vodka to speak for itself.
Based on those sales figures and the newfound place on the vodka podium, we’d say he’s done a darn good job.
Tito’s vodka price and bottle sizes
|Tito’s Handmade Vodka||375ml||$11|
|Tito’s Handmade Vodka||750ml||$22|
|Tito’s Handmade Vodka||1 liter||$28|
|Tito’s Handmade Vodka||1.75 liter||$36|
Where to buy Tito’s vodka online?
EDITOR’S CHOICE: RESERVEBAR
ReserveBar specializes in premium spirits, wine, beer, and champagne delivered promptly at a competitive price. Enjoy a luxury experience and superior customer service.
Bert ‘Tito’ Beveridge: ‘the vodka guy’
Tito’s pure, unflavoured 40% ABV vodka might just be the best thing to come out of Texas since Dr. Pepper– but its creator had zero experience in spirit distillation.
No, Tito did not come from a long-established line of master distillers who’d passed on the torch– in fact, he’d held a cornucopia of job titles, including groundwater geologist, oil driller, and mortgage broker, before finally realizing his calling as ‘the vodka guy’.
In the early 90s, Tito Beveridge enjoyed no such convenience as simply typing into Google ‘How to distill vodka?’. So, he had to put his boots on the ground:
After a tip-off about a gap in the market for craft vodka from one of his more fruitful networking outings, Tito knew what he had to do… He just didn’t know quite how to do it yet.
So, in an act of impressive diligence, he tirelessly gathered old photographs from the Prohibition-era which pictured moonshine operations.
It was from these decades-old, grainy photos that he began to build his first vodka still. Well, that’s one way to do it.
He kept his enemies close
Throughout Tito’s haphazard learning process, he would always have mason jars full of competing vodkas on the shelf. In what we’re sure was a rather raucous tasting process, Tito’s creations would constantly be compared to the competition.
Time and time again, Tito’s vodka would be branded inferior to its more established contemporaries, and the batch would be cast aside.
Then, one starry Texan night, all his hard work paid off. In the taste-tests, Tito’s vodka came out on top. Tito Beveridge had finally crafted the finest, purest vodka that ‘was so smooth, you could drink it straight’.
Spreading the word
So, by perfecting his vodka, Tito had done the hardest part. Now, he just needed to get in on the shelves.
After a struggle to attain a license to legally distill vodka in Texas (this was a first for the state), he maxed out 19 credit cards and built a one-man distillery.
By successfully challenging the state’s archaic alcohol laws, Tito thus made a firm footprint in the desert to lead the way for the ensuing microdistillery movement.
But the hard work didn’t stop there:
Tito’s days were spent hand-bottling his new creation, gluing on labels, and screwing on caps. By night, he would attend bars, restaurants and parties armed with bottles of his vodka, slowly but surely spreading the word, then returning home to slumber next to his still.
Clearly, Tito was adept at playing the long game, as eventually, he procured a loyal following.
Clean and simple labelling
In direct contrast with the bold labeling commonly found on spirit bottles like Jagermeister and Jack Daniel’s, Tito wanted to minimize audacious branding on his vodka by keeping it clean and simple.
Rumour has it, Tito paid a Texas University art student to design his label for a meagre fee of just $25. As it turned out, the small investment bore fantastic results:
The brand has since become known for its modest label, which, as Tito had hoped, avoided detracting from the real pleasure bottled within.
What makes Tito’s Vodka unique
Since the brand’s labeling is decidedly unobtrusive, it relies on the purity and unique flavor of the vodka to appeal to consumers.
In order to achieve that all-desirable purity, Tito’s vodka is distilled 6 times (double the standard amount). This time-consuming process, in addition to the vodka being made from corn mash (rather than wheat or potato), results in a smooth, glassy finished product.
Complete with a slightly candied aftertaste (thanks to the corn), we have a winning vodka. It’s so revered, that today the brand makes only pure, unflavoured vodka (although, their website has great tips on how to make your own infusions! Apple and cinnamon or sweet pepper, anyone?).
Of course, unflavoured does not mean flavorless: The medium-bodied vodka hints at citrus, guava and passionfruit amid its signature clean taste.
How to drink Tito’s Vodka
Straight from the horse’s mouth, this is how Tito himself likes to enjoy his vodka:
Add 45ml of Tito’s Vodka to a rocks glass with a handful of ice, then top with 100ml of cold, filtered water and a slice of lemon. Sip slowly to fully appreciate the flavors.
Best cocktails to make with Tito’s Vodka
Here are the best cocktails to make with Tito’s vodka.
Tito’s Citrus Squeeze
- 45ml Tito’s Vodka
- 90ml sparkling water
- 30ml grapefruit juice
- 10ml lemon juice
- 10ml lime juice
- 1 dash of bitters
Cocktail recipes: Add all the ingredients into a rocks glass with plenty of ice and stir. This cocktail works wonderfully in a punch bowl, too.
Tito’s Early Bird
- 30ml Tito’s Vodka
- 60ml sparkling wine
- 30ml grapefruit juice
- 10ml lime juice
- 1-2 sage leaves to garnish
Cocktail recipes: Build all ingredients into a chilled champagne flute. Garnish with sage.
Tito’s On the Beach
- 45ml Tito’s Vodka
- 30ml peach schnapps
- 60ml cranberry juice
- 60ml orange juice
- Cherry and orange slice, to garnish
Cocktail recipes: Add all ingredients into a tall glass with ice, garnish with cherry and an orange slice.
Frequently asked questions about Tito’s Handmade Vodka
A 750ml (70cl) bottle of Tito’s Handmade Vodka retails at around $20, placing it firmly as a mid-priced spirit. Tito’s reduces the cost to the customer by minimizing packaging expenses and keeping the label simple.
Tito’s do one thing, and they do it very well. By crafting small-batch, artisan vodkas from corn rather than wheat or potatoes, and distilling it six times, the result is a pure, smooth-tasting vodka which is delicious on its own or mixed in a cocktail.
Small-batch, locally-produced vodka wasn’t available until Tito began his distillery back in the 90s. The handmade aspect is a real appeal, plus, it’s very affordable.
Tito’s Vodka has 40% percent alcohol, which is within the typical range for vodka.
In recent years, Tito’s has surpassed Smirnoff as America’s favorite vodka and is one of the top best-selling liquors in the world. It’s an accessible, affordable, artisan and small-batch vodka hailing from Austin, Texas.
Yes, you can buy Tito’s Handmade Vodka online at Reserve Bar.