*Photo credit: Gay Water via Instagram
Where Bud Light sinks, Gay Water rises to the occasion.
On Thursday, the brightly-packaged canned alcoholic beverage Gay Water launched its way into happy hours. Named after the nickname given to the vodka and soda combo that’s frequently ordered in gay bars, Gay Water wants to be the drink of choice for the queer community. Spencer Hoddeson, a gay man, created the product with the LGBTQ+ community in mind. Seeing that Bud Light can’t seem to promote their products properly with or to the queer community, nor will they come to the defense of their trans influencers when things go south, Hoddeson wants to rectify that in the beverage industry.
“The key issue that Bud Light tapped into was the fact that they didn’t understand their core audience and know enough about them,” said Hoddeson for CNN. “They just went silent and I think in 2023, you have to be communicating because people communicate themselves if they’re not hearing from you.”
Hoddeson created Gay Water to be out, loud, and proud. The packaging pays homage to the neon and cartoonish designs of the ‘90s and was developed by a queer designer. And while Gay Water’s four sugar-free flavors, watermelon, lime, peach and grapefruit, can be purchased in select retailers, Gay Water’s reach is expanded through online sales. Single flavor six-packs cost $18.25, whereas variety 12-packs cost $36.50, but providing a beverage made by the queer community for the queer community is priceless in the eyes of Hoddeson.
“We’re creating a brand that creates representation, particularly in spaces where representation is lacking like liquor stores, bars, restaurants and grocery stores,” said Hoddeson. “Putting a product with the word gay in the title is representation itself.”
Sometimes great ideas start from vacation conversations, as did the creation of Gay Water. Hoddeson’s idea is now reality, with its Thursday launch into a $2.2 billion industry where premixed cocktails surged 36% last year. With that, Hoddeson believes that it’s “exactly the right time” to enter Gay Water into the market. Additionally, he believes that brands like Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light don’t understand “who their audience is and who their community will be” when it comes to product development.
Spuds Mackenzie was trans too. We can prove it.
Bud Light surely didn’t get it right. The beer brand sent a personalized beer can to influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who unveiled it and her partnership with Bud Light in an Instagram post on April 2. What ensued was an onslaught of transphobic messages and anti-trans sentiment hurled towards Mulvaney from conservatives, with Bud Light not coming to her defense when they finally spoke out about the controversy.
“There’s clearly a desire for folks to have queer customers; they just don’t know the right way to go about it,” said Hoddeson.
Gay Water is here to turn the tides with a premixed cocktail that was intentionally designed for everyone.