Liquid Death is a startup that just announced $1.6 million in seed funding. Liquid Death was founded by a former Netflix executive who sees a market for people that eschew soda and alcohol, yet who also want the experience of drinking water from some kind of disposable receptacle. Liquid Death is a startup that sells water in tallboy cans.
How is Liquid Death different from Blue Can Water, which is canned still water marketed to disaster preppers? Or Open Water, which sells canned water to places like Sweetgreen and Patagonia? I mean, what’s the difference between a Berry Bliss Yankee Candle and an all-consuming inferno? What’s the difference between pushing a stroller through a zoo and tearing the head off a bat with your teeth? This water in a can is totally different than other waters in cans. This water in a can is punk.
“We knew the easiest crowd for us is anyone into heavy metal, punk rock, and that kind of world because they immediately get the joke and get the humor and have never seen anything like it,” Liquid Death cofounder and CEO Mike Cessario told Business Insider. “Everything we’ve done so far has been so scrappy, and we’re excited to continue scaling our efforts, especially marketing.”
Look at all the things that identify Liquid Death as punk. It says “Death,” right there in the brand name. The marketing campaign will “murder your thirst.” It has a melting skull on the front. It doesn’t have a mailing list; it has an “Email Cult.” There’s no lame “Contact Us” button on the website—there’s a button that says “Summon Us.” It takes something that was virtually free to everyone and packages it for mainstream commercial sale. How punk is that?
It’s in on its own joke. It’s tongue-in-cheek. It’s totally subversive. It’s a product you can buy to telegraph your identity as a particular kind of person, one different from the people who purchase competing products. It’s not water for “Whole Foods yoga moms,” as Cessario explained to Business Insider. I mean yes, in substance it is absolutely identical to water consumed by Whole Foods yoga moms. But the can, man. Just look at that can.
What even is punk anymore, anyway? Johnny Rotten wears MAGA shirts now. Do you know for sure that Lou Reed wouldn’t have gotten into angel investing if he was still with us? You don’t. You have no way of knowing that. So give society the finger and get yourself a 12-pack of 16.9-ounce cans eligible for Amazon Prime, or hit the company up directly via their wholesale inquiry online form. Be sure to include your anticipated monthly quantity and primary resale outlet. And rock on.