The owners of a local health-minded food truck have decided to branch into the beverage market with the debut of a line of canned cocktails. Ranch Rider Spirits Co. launches in December with three flavors that have Southwestern origins.
Brian Murphy and Quentin Cantu serve organic bowls out of the Ranch Hand food truck, located at Native Hostel in East Austin. They began to notice during their long, late-night hours that they couldn’t find shift drinks suited to their palates — and thus began a quest to create them.
"Our mission is to disrupt the ready-to-drink alcohol category with a badass brand that is emblematic of the Southwest," Murphy in a news release. "Our recipes all have roots in Texas or Mexico. We support producers and wildlife initiatives in the region. We source our tequila from Mexico and our citrus from the valley right between Texas and Mexico."
The 12-ounce Ranch Rider cans come in three options: the Texas-favorite Ranch Water, featuring reposado tequila, sparkling water and lime juice; Tequila Paloma, with reposado tequila, sparkling water and grapefruit and lime juice; and the Chilton, containing vodka, sparkling water, lemon juice and sea salt. Each one is 6 percent alcohol by volume and has less than 125 calories and 2 grams of sugar — details that are spelled out on the cans. That calorie count is a little higher than many canned light beers and hard seltzers but lower than some canned cocktails on the market.
"Ranch Rider is our response to a segment of products that are either made with fermented cane sugar or are excessively sweet and artificial tasting. Ranch Rider is real spirits and real ingredients prepared simply," Cantu said in the news release.
Ranch Rider joins an explosive ready-to-drink market led by White Claw, the hard seltzer brand that everyone seems to love. Murphy and Cantu hope to distinguish their brand with the Southwestern-style design on each can and the focus on recipes from that region, including Ranch Water, a popular West Texas cocktail that is a kind of cross between the Tom Collins and the margarita.
The co-founders built a production facility in Dripping Springs and hired industry veterans from both Austin Eastciders and Republic National Distributing Company to get their new venture off the ground.
Starting in December, Ranch Rider products will be exclusively sold in Austin and San Antonio-area bars, restaurants and liquor stores, including Native Hostel, the Peached Tortilla, Twin Liquors, Spec’s, and Total Wine & More, according to the release.
For more information, visit ranchriderspirits.com.