Tito's Vodka

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Tito's Vodka is a vodka brand made by Fifth Generation, founded by Tito Beveridge in 1997 in Austin, Texas — specializing in vodka made from yellow corn,[1] rather than potatoes or wheat.[2][3]

Marketing its brand as Tito's Handmade Vodka, the company originally craft-distilled its products in pot stills at Texas' first legal distillery.[4][1][2] By 2001, the brand was no longer a micro-distillery, having surpassed the industry standard of 40,000 cases for a craft distillery as defined by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) at 40,000 cases.

Now made in a facility with ten floor-to-ceiling stills and equipment bottling 500 cases an hour,[5] the brand recorded a sales volume of approximately 3.8 million 9 liter cases in the United States as of 2016[6] and a market share of 7.1% of the United States Vodka market as of 2017.[7]

Founder[edit]

Bert Butler "Tito" Beveridge II is a native of San Antonio, Texas. He received the diminutive nickname "Bertito", shortened to "Tito", from his Latino caregivers in childhood. Beveridge attended the University of Texas where he became a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

History[edit]

Beveridge first produced his spirits as a hobby after making infusions of inexpensive vodka as gifts[8] and using a pot still.[2] Commercial production began in 1997 when Beveridge formed Fifth Generation, Inc., and established the Mockingbird Distillery, producing 1,000 cases that year. In 2007, the brand sold over 160,000 cases.[citation needed] Production remains at the heavily expanded southeast Austin distillery.

Sales and distribution of Tito's Handmade Vodka expanded in 2001 after Tito's Handmade Vodka won the Double Gold Medal for vodka at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.[9] Also that year, it received a four-star ranking from Spirit Journal[8] and won four stars again in the 2007 edition. Beginning in 2013, United Airlines began serving only Tito's for its inflight vodka beverages.[10]

Tito's is distributed throughout the United States and Canada.[11]

"Handmade" controversy[edit]

In 2014, two false advertising lawsuits were filed against Tito's in California and Florida. The California lawsuit alleged that Tito's vodka cannot be described "handmade" because it is made from "commercially manufactured 'rectified spirits (neutral grain spirit)' that is trucked and pumped into Tito's industrial facility"; it is distilled in a large industrial complex with modern, technologically advanced stills; and is produced and bottled in extremely large quantities (i.e., it is ‘mass produced). 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.[12][13] The main lawsuits, Hofmann v. Fifth Generation, Inc. and Cabrera v. Fifth Generation, Inc., were dismissed in May 2016.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tito's Handmade Vodka (1L)". craftspiritsxchange.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c a Heinz, John (February 1, 2010). "Tito's Handmade Vodka". Ocean Drive Magazine. Retrieved December 8, 2017 – via oceandrive.com. 
  3. ^ Stewart, Amy (2013). The Drunken Botanist. Algonquin Books. p. 49. 
  4. ^ Marshall, Wes (2002-04-19). "How a little Austin distillery caught the attention of worldwide vodka drinkers". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  5. ^ Nicola Carruthers (March 3, 2018). "Tito's vodka lawsuit over 'handmade' settled". The Spirits Business. 
  6. ^ "Sales volume of Tito's Handmade Vodka in the United States from 2013 to 2016". Statistica.com. 
  7. ^ E.J. Shultz. "TITO'S HANDMADE VODKA Marketer of the Year". Ad Age. 
  8. ^ a b "Vodka Fest with Gin 2006-Tampa Tasting Notes". polishedpalate.com. The Polished Palate, LLC. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  9. ^ "2001 Awards Winning Spirits" (PDF). sfspiritscomp.com. San Francisco Word Spirits Competition. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 3, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  10. ^ Green, Shelton (May 11, 2013). "High-Flying Spirits: Tito's Vodka now exclusive to United Airlines". culturemap.com. KVUE News. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  11. ^ Crider, Kitty (May 12, 2005). "The Fortunate 500: Food and drink stars: People who toast the foodie social scene". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2007-06-04 – via austin360.com. 
  12. ^ Dinges, Gary (26 September 2014). "Lawsuit: Tito's vodka isn't actually 'handmade'". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Matus, Victorino (19 October 2014). "A Vodka With a Twist of Tort". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Lehrman, Robert (18 May 2016). "Main Tito's Case Dismissed". Lehrman's Beverage Law. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 

External links[edit]