Katie Beal Brown is still using the classic Ranch Water to better describe where she came from in West Texas.
The newest addition is Ranch Rita, and Katie Beal Brown says new flavors are forthcoming.
Brand ambassador Ryan Bingham and Lone River Ranch Water's CEO Katie Beal Brown
Katie Beal Brown largely grew up in West Texas, hails from Midland and her family’s ranch still owns a range in Fort Davis. This through and through 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 too, expanding the mystique of West Texas and the simplicity of its classic cocktail.
Many locales are linked to a signature drink. When in New Orleans, you order a Sazerac. In Kentucky, it needs to be a mint julep. In Connecticut, you should be sipping a Moscow Mule. Where Brown grew up the drink of choice was ranch water ― typically tequila, soda and a squeeze of lime ― the simple, refreshing and low-sugar cousin of a margarita.
Ranch water is collecting fans fast these days, and the success of Katie Beal Brown’s canned cocktail brand certainly has something to do with that.
“While living in New York, I served ranch water to my friends,” Beal Brown tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “It allowed me to better describe where I came from.”
Her friends liked it, and in recent years, the legend of the ranch water has really caught on. Brown’s own ranch roots gave her the idea to can the West Texas classic, which she did in 2020. Lone River Ranch Water has continued riding the wave of tequila’s renewed popularity, as well as the low-carb craze.
“We were the first ranch water to be sold in cans, and with the success we saw, it invited a lot of competition,” Brown says. “It’s very validating. We remain the No. 1 in Texas and the U.S.”
That No. 1 slot comes from Nielsen’s calculations. Lone River Ranch Water is currently outpacing its nearest competitor, with more than double the market share in the ranch water/agave seltzer segment. In fact, Lone River has garnered between 44 to 48-percent of the total market sales in recent months.
Most cans of Lone River ring in at 80 calories, four percent ABV, and are only two carbs. The simple ingredients do not contain tequila, but these hard seltzer drinks mimic the flavor of a ranch water with carbonated water, alcohol, key lime juice and organic agave nectar. There are four flavors including the original, spicy, Rio red grapefruit and in the 12 packs you can sample a prickly pear variety as well.
After launching Lone River, Beal Brown and her husband moved to Fort Worth to continue growing their drinks empire and raising 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 the culture.”
Lone River and Future Drink Plans
After quickly rising to the top of the agave-based seltzer market in Texas and Tennessee, in August of 2021, Lone River was acquired by Diageo, which has helped it become a national brand. Leveraging its massive presence in the alcoholic beverage market, Diageo has amassed more than 200 brands including the likes of Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Casamigos and Guinness. Beal Brown appreciates that Diageo believes every brand has a story and wants her to continue telling the unique tale of Lone River Ranch Water.
“We are headquartered in Fort Worth, with manufacturing all over the country now,” Beal Brown says. “We scaled nationally last year, and work with over 300 distributors currently. We needed a strategic partner with the expertise to do that.”
Katie Beal Brown believes it all goes back to the origin story, differentiating her canned cocktail from others on the market. The vastness of West Texas is reinforced in Lone River Ranch Water’s packaging and marketing. They are working with notable brand ambassadors like musician/actor Ryan Bingham, and ran a commercial during the Yellowstone premiere (of course, Yellowstone is the show that made Bingham famous).
“We shot our first commercial on my family ranch, using our own ranch hands,” Beal Brown says.
Lone River Ranch Water continues to tell its story, spreading the simplicity of ranch water across the country. Lone River introduced its newest flavor last year, called the Ranch Rita, with great success. The canned margarita utilizes the same simple ingredients but the recipe is a touch heavier on the lime and agave side, making it 150 calories, six percent ABV and 12 carbs. Beal Brown tells PaperCity that new flavors will be added to the Ranch Rita lineup soon.
Now, Lone River Ranch Water can say it is West Texas-bred, Fort Worth-based and No. 1 nationally. That’s not a bad Texas story.