Making Vodka that Doesn’t Suck | The Well

Welcome to the first edition of The Well on Saucey—a quick weekly breakdown of the stories behind your favorite alcohol and CPG brands.

First up: The story of the man behind Tito’s Handcrafted Vodka, the best-selling vodka in the U.S.

The Story of Tito’s

Bert Butler “Tito” Beveridge (yes, his last name is Beveridge) is a Texas native who initially pursued a career in oil and gas before dabbling in the mortgage business. His oil and gas career took him to South America, where he first started making alcoholic beverages by picking fruits and fermenting them.

When back in the U.S. in his mid 30’s (having no idea what he wanted to do) he started making flavored vodkas for his friends.

It turned out he really loved making vodka—way more than his oil and gas and mortgage careers (seems like this also might have been right around this time he realized his last name is “Beveridge”). So, Tito set out to learn how to distill vodka. He spent countless hours building stills based off of old photographs and at one point used two Dr Pepper kegs with a turkey-frying rig. He put $88,000 on credit cards to get things off the ground.

However, there was just one problem… back in 1993 there wasn’t a single distiller in the state of Texas. So he approached the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) to apply for a license, who told him Texas forbid distilleries unless he could first get a federal license.

He got that federal license (took 2 years), and became the first distiller in Texas.

Tito tinkered and tinkered in pursuit of a vodka that was “so smooth you could drink it straight.” Production kicked off in 1995 using corn as the key ingredient. He sold his first case of vodka in 1997, and in 2001 (just 5 years later), Tito’s Handmade Vodka won the double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating 70+ of the best known vodka brands!

Since then, Tito’s Vodka has grown to be the best-selling spirit in the U.S., and is the only spirit in the top 40 to be independently owned (100% owned by Tito himself).

Fun fact: If you’re the type to accidentally spill Tito’s on your hand (aren’t we all?), it will evaporate faster than other spirits, which is an indicator of its high quality.

Why I love Tito’s

The reasons are simple:

  • It’s incredibly smooth… and affordable.
  • The company is super into dogs. Tito’s supports a lot of great charitable causes, including their Vodka for Dog People program that rescues and finds homes for pets.
  • It’s American made and gluten-free. (I’m not gluten-free. But it’s nice for people who are.)
  • It’s one of the only spirits to successfully pull people up from lower price tiers, and down from more expensive vodkas (a testament to its quality).

Chris Vaughn
CEO & Founder of Saucey

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