New Sparkling Water Brand, Not Beer, Seeks to Ride High on Liquid Death’s Success

by Kaia

A fresh contender has emerged in the sparkling water arena, as Not Beer aims to seize the spotlight by capitalizing on the trend of canned water packaged akin to alcoholic beverages.


Positioning itself as a “zero beer taste” non-alcoholic alternative, Not Beer offers consumers a beverage that mirrors the appearance and feel of beer but is, in fact, sparkling water. Inspired in part by the triumph of Liquid Death and the endeavors of major beer brands in luring sober-curious drinkers with zero-alcohol options, Not Beer embraces a red and white aesthetic reminiscent of classic Budweiser cans. With $1.9 million in backing from angel investors, the brand is set to debut on Amazon and select retailers this month. Dillon Dandurand, the founder, underscores the brand’s alignment with prevailing consumer trends, citing a growing preference for healthier alcohol alternatives and a penchant for quirky, TikTok-friendly branding.


“The concept dawned on me when I encountered a Bud Light Next billboard boasting ‘zero carbs’,” Dandurand explained to Modern Retail. “I pondered, at what point does this simply become water?”


Reports indicate that Gen Z is consuming 20% less alcohol than millennials, prompting a scramble among non-alcoholic players to capture this demographic. Alongside Liquid Death, which recently achieved a valuation of $1.4 billion following a financing round, another rising star is Hop Wtr. Launched in 2020, Hop Wtr specializes in non-alcoholic, hop-infused sparkling water. In 2021, Constellation Brands, the parent company of Modelo and Corona, secured a minority stake in Hop Wtr.


Despite the emergence of competitors, Dandurand sees an untapped niche for brands like Not Beer. “Much of the allure of alcohol lies in the fantasy it conjures,” he remarked. He believes that this sentiment cannot be easily replicated by non-alcoholic cocktails, thus positioning Not Beer as an alternative that embodies the essence of alcohol marketing.

Dandurand expressed a departure from conventional non-alcoholic beverages that seek to mimic the taste of alcohol while promoting themselves as a healthy option. He contends that many mocktails are laden with sugar and carbs, contrary to their purported health benefits.

The brand name, Not Beer, was chosen to evoke the essence of beer and stand out in the water aisle. Unlike Liquid Death, which sources imported Alps water, Not Beer utilizes American water and canning facilities nationwide.

Formulating the product and securing a manufacturing partner proved more challenging than anticipated, Dandurand admitted. Not Beer employs a reverse-osmosis purification system and a proprietary electrolyte and mineral blend to enhance taste and hydration. The resulting formulation boasts less carbonation than typical sparkling water brands, providing a bubble level reminiscent of beer and a smoother drinking experience.

Dandurand acknowledges Liquid Death’s influence on Not Beer’s strategy, emphasizing the category’s growth as evidenced by Liquid Death’s rapid ascent, reporting $263 million in retail scanned sales in 2023.

Humorous marketing serves as a cornerstone of Not Beer’s brand identity, encapsulated by the slogan “never a bad time.” Dandurand envisions ample content opportunities for branding, with short clips optimized for TikTok or Instagram Reels showcasing consumers enjoying Not Beer in various settings.

Initially focusing on driving sales in Texas, where the company is headquartered, Not Beer plans to launch on Amazon before expanding to select retailers, starting with Texas-based grocery chain Brookshire’s.

Mike Jones, co-founder and managing director of venture fund and startup studio Science Inc., an early investor in Liquid Death, anticipates continued growth in the market for health-conscious non-alcoholic products. He underscores the appeal of holding a can of water resembling an alcoholic beverage in social settings.

However, amidst a plethora of options for those cutting back on alcohol, brands must distinguish themselves through branding, flavor innovation, impactful marketing, collaborations, and partnerships to remain relevant.

Not Beer intends to adopt a similar marketing playbook, emphasizing sampling initiatives and influencer marketing to drive brand awareness. Dandurand reports positive reception from retail buyers, highlighting Not Beer’s appeal as a fun alternative to conventional sparkling waters and plastic water bottles.



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