KAtty Beal Brown grew up mostly in West Texas, hailing from Midland and his family ranch still has a range in Fort Davis. By and by Texan is the founder of the No. 1 selling hard seltzer brand in the state of Texas. Her Lone River Ranch Water is starting to have a national moment, expanding the mystique of West Texas and the simplicity of its classic cocktail.
Many locales are linked to the signature drink. When in New Orleans, you order a Sazerac. In Kentucky, it has to be a mint julep. In Connecticut, you should be drinking a Moscow Mule. Where Brown grew up, the drink of choice was ranch water — typically tequila, soda and a squeeze of lime — a simple, refreshing and low-sugar cousin of the margarita.
Ranch water is rapidly gathering fans these days, and the success of Katie Beale Brown’s canned cocktail brand certainly has something to do with it.
“While living in New York, I served my friends ranch water,” says Beale Brown. Paper City Fort Worth. “It allowed me to better explain where I came from.”
Her friends loved it, and in recent years, the legend of Ranch Water really caught on. Brown’s own ranch roots gave him the idea to can the West Texas Classic, which he did in 2020. Lone River Ranch Water continues to ride the wave of tequila’s renewed popularity and the low-carb craze.
“We were the first ranch water sold in cans, and with the success we saw, it invited a lot of competition,” Brown says. “It’s very validating. We’re No. 1 in Texas and the US.”
That no. 1 slot comes from Nielsen’s calculations. Lone River Ranch Water currently outpaces its closest competitor, with more than double the market share in the Ranch Water/Agave Seltzer segment. In fact, Lone River has gained 44 to 48 percent of total market sales in recent months.
Most cans of Lone River ring in at 80 calories, four percent ABV, and just two carbs. Simple Ingredients doesn’t contain tequila, but these hard seltzer drinks mimic the flavor of ranch water with carbonated water, alcohol, key lime juice, and organic agave nectar. There are four flavors including Original, Spicy, Rio Red Grapefruit, and you can also sample the Prickly Pear variety in 12-packs.
After launching Lone River, Beale Brown and her husband moved to Fort Worth to grow their beverage empire and raise their family.
“My husband is from Houston,” she says. “So Fort Worth felt like the perfect proximity between Houston and West Texas. It has a small-town feel with access to all cultures.
Lone River and Future Drink projects
After quickly rising to the top of the agave-based seltzer market in Texas and Tennessee in August 2021, Lone River was acquired by Diageo, helping it become a national brand. Leveraging its massive presence in the alcoholic beverage market, Diageo has accumulated more than 200 brands such as Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Casamigos and Guinness. Diageo believes every brand has a story and Beale Brown appreciates continuing to tell the unique story of Lone River Ranch Water.
“We’re headquartered in Fort Worth, now manufacturing all over the country,” Beal Brown says. “We scaled nationally last year and currently work with 300 distributors. To do that we needed a strategic partner with expertise.
Katie Beale Brown believes it all goes back to the original story, what sets her canned cocktail apart from others on the market. The vastness of West Texas is reinforced in the packaging and marketing of Lone River Ranch Water. He has been working with notable brand ambassadors such as musician/actor Ryan Bingham and directed the commercial during this time. Yellowstone premiere (of course, Yellowstone the show that made Bingham famous).
“We shot our first commercial on my family’s ranch using our own ranch hands,” says Beal Brown.
Lone River Ranch Water continues to tell its story, spreading the simplicity of ranch water across the country. Lone River introduced its new flavor last year, called Ranch Rita, to great success. A canned margarita uses the same simple ingredients but the recipe is heavy on the lime and agave side, making it 150 calories, six percent ABV and 12 carbs. Beale Brown says Paper City New flavors will be added to the Ranch Rita lineup soon.
Now, Lone River Ranch Water is a West Texas-bred, Fort Worth-based and nationally No. 1 can be said. That’s not a bad Texas story.