“Liquid Death” Markets Water Like Beer. But, Like, Hardcore Beer.

updated May 8, 2019
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Credit: Courtesy of Liquid Death

Water has gone “hardcore,” thanks to a former Netflix creative director who has decided the secret to selling water is to make it more metal. “Liquid Death,” Mike Cessario’s canned water brand with the slogan “Murder your thirst,” came out at the end of January, but Business Insider reported yesterday that the company had raised a seed round of $1.6 million from Biz Stone, the founders of Dollar Shave Club and Away.

Which means that no matter what we think, somebody thinks that it’s high time water gets reinvented for a new consumer — or at least the packaging, since what is inside is “100% natural, non-carbonated, mountain water sourced from the Austrian Alps.” So yes, the only thing that sets it apart from any other water is the distribution (you buy it on Amazon per pack or by subscription on its own website, DrinkLiquidDeath.com) and the packaging.

And, oh the packaging: It’s designed to look like a tall-boy can of craft beer. The company admits that’s the motivation, but also says that “aluminum cans get more ice-cold than plastic, and aluminum is infinitely recyclable and contains 20 times more recycled material per container than plastic. Of all the aluminum produced since 1888, 75% of it is still in productive use.”

In other words, the image is hardcore, but the product is good for the earth; the founders seem motivated by disrupting plastic bottles and bringing irreverence to the water industry. That seems fun and harmless, right? Okay, but the can copy is a bit disturbing: “Our proprietary thirst murdering process begins with the liquid death forming a rope of veins that will wrap around your thirst’s head and strangle it. Once liquid death reaches your thirst’s brain, all of your thirst’s memories will be replaced with repeating loops of its own head imploding. Which is exactly what happens next by it causing your thirst’s head to implode and its brain to squirt out of its ears.” And it goes on. For another paragraph.

Business Insider’s article seems to shed a bit more light on the real motivation, though: “Cessario’s “straight edge” contemporaries were looking for a water brand that spoke to them, instead of to “Whole Foods yoga moms.” In other words, welcome to the world, water for bros.