Way back in July 2015, a consortium of Austin entrepreneurs including James Moody—owner of Austin music venue Mohawk—former MillerCoors CEO Leo Kiely, and GSD&M Chief Creative Officer Jay Russell announced the launch of Rambler: a new sparkling water company jumping onto the scene to compete with the gold standard of the industry, Monterrey, Mexico-based Topo Chico.
Two years passed, though, and we heard nary a peep regarding Rambler’s entry into the market. It didn’t shock us; perhaps they got cold feet after considering the titan they were attempting to compete with? (Back when they first announced, Moody sidestepped the question when we asked him how they intended to face Topo, instead explaining that their goal was focused more on “giving people options, just like people do in the craft beer world.”)
We are curious, though, the difference between the “limestone filtered” Rambler and Topo Chico—and that’s something we’ll finally get to determine for ourselves, as Rambler finally has a release planned later this summer.
According to a press release, “Since first announcing the concept of Rambler in mid-2015, the team has spent the last two years diligently testing and developing the flavor profile and brand identity” of the sparkling water. Two years is a long time for professionals in the brand world like Moody and Russell to design a can and a logo, so we’re going to assume that the flavor profile and finding a way to do all of this efficiently and sustainably are the larger challenges that have faced the nascent company.
To help with that, the team tapped Austin Beerworks for production, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation as the recipient of a portion of their proceeds to conserve the sort of locations in Texas where, we assume, many a can of Rambler will be enjoyed. That’s a nice way to add some social good and to help entice curious Topo Chico addicts who might be on the fence about whether they want to put a buck or two toward drinking sparkling water out of a can.
In any case, Rambler’s product looks good, and it’ll be an aesthetically pleasing addition to the mixers and non-alcoholic drink lineup at Mohawk, regardless of whether it ends up catching on throughout the state. Entering a market dominated by a beloved institution like Topo Chico is a tall order for anybody, but after two years of trying, it’s clear at the very least that the Rambler team believes in their product.