The New LGBTQ+ Canned Cocktail Brand That's Ready To Rival Bud Light

You may remember the PR fiasco in April when Bud Light sponsored an Instagram post by Dylan Mulvaney, a social media influencer and transgender woman. Faced with a backlash of anti-LGBTQ+ hate, the company buckled, ultimately failing to support either Mulvaney or the transgender community. This in turn has led to a response of an altogether more delicious variety: Gay Water, a new premium canned cocktail brand packaged in colorful containers and named after the slang term used for vodka and soda water with lemon or lime, a popular drink served in gay bars.

Gay Water offers four different varieties of sugar-free, gluten-free vodka and soda cocktails combined with various, well, fruity flavoring agents: watermelon, peach, lime, and grapefruit. It is being sold almost exclusively online, with single-flavored six packs going for $18.25 and a variety pack consisting of twelve 12-ounce cans costing $36.50. The '90s-inspired pop art packaging, design, and logo is a collaboration between the founder Spencer Hoddeson and queer designer Ryan Sagawa.

Gay means happy

Appearing in time to take advantage of the canned cocktail boom, Gay Water won't be in direct competition with Bud Light, which is a beer brand. It also isn't equivocating about its stance on representation and inclusivity. "The key issue that Bud Light tapped into was the fact that they didn't understand their core audience and know enough about them," Hoddeson told 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, a gay man, is not only interested in Gay Water appealing to LGTBQ+ consumers, of course. He explains that the brand is all-inclusive and that, "we want straight people to be part of this community we're building." The beverage company's stated goal is to create a space in places where there is little to no representation: grocery and liquor stores, bars, and restaurants.