Volley Tequila Seltzer
Cost: $12-13/four pack, $3-3.50/can
S eltzer drinks have taken the world of alcohol by storm, and they don’t show any signs of letting up.
You can find all kinds of seltzers from hard apple cider to beer. The newest entry in the field is Volley hard seltzer, made with tequila. And it’s a great addition, unlike any other seltzer I’ve had.
The four flavors of Volley should be popular for the holidays, either at a party or with a holiday meal. And I suspect they will be a big hit next summer.
The flavors are zesty lime, spicy ginger, sharp grapefruit and tropical mango. I’m not a big tequila drinker but each of these drinks was bright and tasty. They come in cans, so they are easy to pack.
I haven’t found Volley in any Augusta shop, but they just started coming into Georgia last week, so they should be available soon.
These refreshing drinks are made with all natural ingredients. The only things that go into Volley are organic juice, sparkling water and premium 100 percent blue agave blanco tequila from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. They also are low in alcohol, coming in at 5.25 percent. For those of you counting calories they range from 100 to 110 calories.
Christopher Wirth created Volley sitting at his kitchen table. He had been in the beverage business for eight years after creating the American Cocktail Company.
Wirth formed the American Cocktail Company with a friend while working at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. They wanted to make complex cocktails usually only found at top-flight bars available to home consumers.
The formula worked, but this time Wirth was looking for something lighter.
“I got tired of cocktails,” he said during a Zoom call. “You can’t drink as many and feel good the next day. I started looking for that cleaner alternative. I started asking bartenders for tequila and seltzer with juice.
“People are responding to this cleaner alternative…The question is how do we make the cleanest seltzer? Turns out tequila is the cleanest alcohol as long as you use 100 percent agave tequila. It has to be bottled in Jalisco, Mexico. We went to Mexico and tasted 15 tequilas, all blanco. We picked the cleanest and the smoothest.”
Chris and his wife Camila Soriano also do something else unusual with alcoholic beverages. They put the full nutritional information on the package. You know, that box that shows up on food that lists calories, carbs, protein, all that good stuff.
You don’t have to list that on alcoholic beverages, but Chris and Camila wanted to be completely transparent and show all the ingredients. They also noticed that natural flavors are not the same as the actual fruit, so they list the fruit juice.
The nutritional label is on the box of four cans, which has a suggested retail price of $11.99-$13.99, but the label also is on the cans. Individual cans should sell at around $3-$3.50 apiece.
My wife Teri and I tasted Volley on a Zoom call and loved the flavors. The first sips we tried didn’t have as much flavor as I had hoped, but that was because we didn’t follow one of the tips Chris offered: Tip the can over before opening to allow the fruit juice to mix with the tequila and seltzer. (It even says “shake me gently” on the can.)
“It’s an imperfection we are proud of,” said Wirth. “It’s the real thing.”
That is a tipoff that this is real fruit juice and not some artificial flavoring. And it pays off when you get the juice and tequila mixed together well. As you can see from the photo of our glasses, the drink looks a little cloudy, but that’s because of the fruit juice.
I really liked the lime Volley. It’s made with a sour lime from Mexico.
Teri liked the ginger and the mango. The ginger is made with Peruvian ginger and has a sharp flavor. It’s not a sweet ginger, like you would find in ginger ale. Chris said this was his favorite.
The mango is a bright color, made with mango puree. Wirth said it is like being on a beach with tropical notes.
The grapefruit is Camila’s favorite, made with ruby red grapefruit. It also has a nice, sharp flavor.
I thought these might even be good bases for mixed drinks, and Wirth said they were working on some cocktail recipes. I had a feeling that because they were trying to get away from alcohol-laden cocktails, this wasn’t a high priority. But if you like these drinks, you can come up with your own cocktail recipes.
To me, that’s what makes these drinks so fun. You can drink them out of the can, you can pour them over ice in a nice cocktail glass, or you can use them in a mixed drink that you create.
Soriano, who does the bookkeeping and finances, said they have partnered with a non-profit organization.
“Leave No Trace is a non-profit that focuses on education about the great outdoors,” she said. Outdoor sustainability is something Soriano and Wirth support.
She said Volley is now available in New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee markets, and the company is trying to expand to other states as quickly and smoothly as possible.
They also are looking at other possible flavors such as cucumber, blood orange, pineapple and guava. I think the possibilities are endless, and I would suggest black cherry, peach, blueberry or raspberry.
It will be fun to see how this venture develops, but they already have a great new drink that none of us knew could be so tasty.
The company also has made some smart marketing moves, starting with the name. Wirth and Soriano worked with Red Antler, which helped them come up with a name during a brainstorming session.
They agreed the name didn’t have to mean anything, but needs to strike an emotion. They think Volley evokes energetic, positive, something you would do with someone else. Makes sense to me.
They also created a little character named Spike who has a hat. His likeness is on the box and the cans. This is supposed to show the fun, whimsical nature of the drink. That all should help, but what really sells it is the taste. I think they found a winner there.
You can find where Volley is available through a map on their website, drinkvolley.com. Wirth and Soriano also are looking for feedback. So if you try Volley and want to talk about it, you can find the email on their website.
If you have questions about wine send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.