Skip to main content

20 Years Strong: Tito’s Handmade Vodka Enters its Third Decade

tito's handmade vodka bottle
Image used with permission by copyright holder
When Bert Butler “Tito” Beveridge II started playing around with vodka in the early 1990s, there were only a handful of small distilleries around the country.  At the time, he was working for a mortgage business in Austin, Texas and was infusing vodkas with whatever he could find in the store as what was just really a fun side project. What Tito made, he gave to friends and family and became known as “the vodka guy.”

You can probably guess where this is going. Looking for the next step he was going to take in life (and with some inspiration from a PBS motivational speaker he saw on TV), Tito decided to make vodka his next big step. He continued working toward this dream, financing the distillery himself. In 1995, he was granted his permit and in 1997, the first case of Tito’s was sold.

Since that first case, Tito’s has grown exponentially. In 2016, Tito’s sold 3.7 million cases (up 33.3% from 2.8 in 2015) making it the fifth-best selling vodka in the country. In addition to growth, Tito’s has won a slew of awards, including The 2016 Market Watch Spirits Brand Of The Year.

While the growth has been astronomical, the mindset behind it has not changed, according to Nicole Portwood, VP of Brand Marketing for Tito’s.

tito's
Image used with permission by copyright holder

“We still make our vodka using pot stills and brew in batches, still taste-test every batch, and still use those same stock bottles so the value is in the liquid, not in the package,” Portwood said, adding, “Tito’s entrepreneurialism and pioneering craft approach date back to a time when there was no such thing as a micro-distillery. Our process hinges on human involvement, and we still have no flavors or line extensions. We do one thing and we do it well.

Another part of Tito’s success, Portwood said, is the word-of-mouth marketing that they employed at first and have since transitioned into social media marketing. “Tito’s family and friends used to come to the distillery and help him bottle the vodka and at the end of the day he’d send them home with a case and ask them to pass it along to their friends.”

With so much success (power), some might say, comes great responsibility. (Yes, we went there. Get over it.) Part of Tito’s mission since the beginning—aside from making a great-priced and tasty vodka—is its dedication to animals.

What started as a way to feed the neighborhood stray dogs (they would come to the distillery to eat Tito’s dog Dogjo’s food), turned into much, much more. Soon, Tito worked to get the strays spayed and neutered at a low-cost clinic called Emancipet that was located nearby. Over the years, that partnership grew into what is now called  Vodka For Dog People.

“Among many other fundraising and awareness-building activities, we sell leashes, collars, dog bowls, toys, and clothing. All of the net proceeds from the sales go directly to Emancipet. In addition, Tito’s hosts Yappy Hours that raise money for Emancipet and other dog-related nonprofits all around the country,” Portwood said.

Okay, we know, we’ve talked a lot about the history of Tito’s already, but we’ve reached the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that you know about Tito’s, it’s time to do what we do best here: drink! Below, you’ll find two Tito’s recipes to mix, raise, and toast to twenty more years of Tito’s.

Tito’s Texas Tea

  • 1 1/2 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz freshly brewed tea
  • 3/4 oz Orange Curacao Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz fresh sour mix
  • Dash of honey

Method: Combine all ingredients in glass with ice.  Stir well to combine.  Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

Fountain of Youth

  • 1 1/2 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • 3/4 oz St. Germain
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 oz Mionetto Prosecco

Method: In cocktail glass add Tito’s, St. Germain, lemon juice and the leaves from 1 mint sprig. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over crushed ice. Top with Prosecco.  Garnish with remaining mint sprig and orange wheel.

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
A toasted rye whiskey from Elijah Craig continues the toasting craze
It's a toasted version of the popular Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey
elijah craig toasted rye news banner jpg

Toasted whiskeys are having a moment, as distilleries experiment with different methods for preparing the casks which their spirits age in. Toasting a barrel rather than charring it is a slower process that brings out more toasty flavors, and it is popular among bourbon producers looking for a way to make their creations stand out. Bourbon brand Elijah Craig already introduced a toasted bourbon in 2020, and it is now expanding its range to include a toasted rye whiskey as well.

The new release uses the brand's popular Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey, which goes through an extra step after its full maturation. Having already been aged in the standard fashion, the whiskey is then removed from its existing barrel and put into a second, toasted oak barrel in which it is finished. These custom barrels are toasted at a lower temperature, and then right before they are almost complete the temperature is ramped up very high, giving them some element of smoke as well as the toasted notes.

Read more
This incredibly simple vodka cocktail is apple pie in a glass
Try a Polish Apple Cake and discover the delights of Żubrówka
bison grass vodka apple towfiqu barbhuiya ivjjr 3n5he unsplash 1

Sometimes you want a fast, easy to make drink that is delicious but requires next to no effort. That's when I reach for one of my all time favorite drinks from Poland.

It uses a Polish vodka called Żubrówka, which is flavored with bison grass. Named for the type of grass grazed on by European bison, which is sweet and aromatic (and which you might better known as sweet grass or vanilla grass), bison grass imparts a warm, cinnamon taste to the vodka. Żubrówka still comes with a blade of bison grass in each bottle and an image of a bison on the front, so you'll know what to look out for.

Read more
The new gin map looks very different from the old one
Gin is changing, it's time to catch up
Gin

 

Gin has come a long way. Of the clear spirits, this one has perhaps evolved most of the last generation or so. And now, much like the ever-evolving sparkling wine map, the map of gin has been rewritten, with exciting new regions all over the place.

Read more