Tito's Handmade Vodka is a vodka produced in Austin, Texas, in the first legal distillery in Texas, established by Bert Butler "Tito" Beveridge II. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Beveridge received the diminutive nickname "Bertito", shortened to "Tito", from his Latino caregivers in childhood. Tito's Handmade Vodka is made from yellow corn, instead of the more commonly used wheat or potatoes, resulting in a mildly sweet aftertaste, and is distilled six times.
Commercial production began in 1997 when Beveridge formed Fifth Generation, Inc., and established the Mockingbird Distillery, producing just 1,000 cases that year. In 2007, he sold over 160,000 cases. All production is still maintained at the southeast Austin distillery, where he has expanded from one pot still to ten and from one bottling line to four. Despite the growing distribution, Fifth Generation, Inc. employs fewer than 18 people.
Tito's Handmade Vodka has gained market share thanks to some prestigious awards, affordable pricing, and word of mouth advertising. Sales and distribution boomed in 2001 after Tito's Handmade Vodka unanimously won the Double Gold Medal for vodka at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating out 71 high-priced vodkas. Also that year, it received a four-star ranking from Spirit Journal and won four stars again in the 2007 edition. Tito's has also received multiple Growth Brand Awards by the Beverage Information Group, a beverage alcohol research firm. Tito's is distributed coast-to-coast across the United States and Canada. Also in 2013, Beveridge announced another milestone. Tito's Handmade Vodka is now the exclusive vodka brand served on all United Airlines flights.
In 2014, two false advertising lawsuits were filed against Tito's in California and Florida. The California lawsuit alleges that Tito's vodka cannot be described "handmade" because it is "made from commercially manufactured ‘neutral grain spirit’ that is trucked and pumped into Tito’s industrial facility" among other claims. Since the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates labeling of liquor in the US, does not actually define "handmade", both lawsuits rely on the dictionary definition of the word.
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