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How Lone River Ranch Water Is Becoming Country Music's Favorite Cocktail

miranda lambert and katie beal brown standing next to each other holding ranch water
Meet the Woman Behind Lone River Ranch Water Katie Beal Brown

Growing up, Katie Beal Brown spent her days running around her family's ranch in Far West Texas, a whole playground of land that belonged to her family for generations. She would play outside, go fishing, and get to work when an extra hand was needed. It didn't matter that she was a girl, or how little she was, she learned to do it all, something she would later carry with her into creating her own business.

a girl riding a horse
Katie as a little girl riding a horse. Katie Beal Brown

It was on those long days after the sun would set when Katie noticed her family concocting a special drink, the unofficial cocktail of West Texas — Ranch Water.

Legend has it, Ranch Water was invented in the 1960s when a wild-haired-rancher mixed the drink up and followed the stars until he ended up falling asleep under a piñon tree miles away. One may say he had one too many. Made with soda or sparkling water, tequila, and lime, the drink itself is rather simple. That's what made it a staple among ranchers working long days out West. It's convenient, and relatively cheap and easy to make. Plus, it tastes good.

"We like to say it’s a no-fuss-get-the-job-done kind of drink," Katie told us. "It’s more than a drink to West Texans, it’s part of the culture."

Born and raised in that culture, Katie is a Texan through and through. So, when she and her husband, also a Texas native, packed their bags and moved to New York City right after saying "I do," Katie often felt herself missing a piece of home.

“When you're far away from home you start to reach for things that make you who you are and things you want to share with people. Ranch Water became one of those things for me. It was a way for me to share more about who I was and where I came from," she explained.

Katie worked in advertising at the time and making the cocktail was a fun homage to where she grew up. She would make them for friends who had never heard of it, let alone heard of the town where she was from. The idea to put them in a can was a way to teach even more people about the drink and about the hardworking yet relaxed lifestyle you find out West. This was during the rise of the fruity alcoholic seltzer craze. Other popular alcohol brands were promoting low-calorie drinks with fruity flavors and a feminine touch. Meanwhile, Katie was looking to mix things up.

“While we were still in the beginning, we were very clear on how we wanted to be different," she said. "We wanted to be tequila inspired, we wanted to have a standard can that felt like drinking a beer, something a bit more masculine than the popular, fruity seltzers on the market."

a variety pack of lone river ranch water sitting outside in front of a cactus
A variety pack of Lone River Ranch Water.Courtesy of Lone River

While the brand does have somewhat of a masculine look, if you've ever cracked open a cold can of Lone River Ranch Water, you know it's a very light and refreshing drink. It’s low calorie, gluten-free, and uses natural ingredients. There are a lot of factors that go into the cocktail that make it more appealing to a much broader audience.

And when Katie stepped into a meeting or an office, ready to pitch this drink and present the brand, she was often one of the only women around. Not only was she representing female entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry, she was also representing Texas.

And the pressure was on, because she wasn't launching a drink created in a board room in a high-rise, she was hoping to share a Texas tradition with the mainstream, a goal to make something important from her home accessible to people all over the country.

"I wanted the brand to speak for itself," she added. And it did just that. Lone River Ranch Water launched during 2020, a risky time for business. But when it hit the shelves, it didn't take long for the drink to start selling out.

It all took off pretty fast, and though Katie comes from a hard-working family and an impressive background in the advertising world, she credits a lot of people for helping the business really flourish. She didn't brag about her own endeavors or compare herself to other women in the industry. Instead, she worked alongside them.

“No matter what I do, community is going to be at the center of that," she told us. "We've had so many people that have extended their arm and taken us under their wing throughout the course of this business when they really didn't have to. Now, it's important to me to extend any wisdom we've gained, or share the resources."

And when it comes to community, Katie has built a pretty good one. Big names in country like Miranda Lambert and Lainey Wilson have both worked alongside Katie and the brand within the past year.

"Both of them are people that I’ve really respected and admired in country music," Katie said about the two. "Miranda got her start in Texas bars. I always felt like she was a kindred spirit. Also, she has a mentality of doing things her way. She’s not looking to prove anything to anyone or ask for anyone’s permission and I just love the spirit of that.Finally meeting her, there was an immediate connection."

miranda lambert and katie beal brown smiling together in a horse barn
Miranda Lambert and Katie Beal Brown smiling together on set. Katie Beal Brown

Of course the two Texas girls are friends. There are a lot of celebrity partnerships and campaigns out there, but these two just make perfect sense together. Then, you throw Lainey Wilson into the mix and it just sounds like a party we really want to be invited to.

"With Lainey, it felt like a real partnership. It wasn't weighed toward one party or the other. It felt like something that was mutually beneficial and we both wanted to advocate for one another."

Could a new Lone River "Watermelon Moonshine" flavor be on the horizon? While we don't know about that, Katie did tease some exciting news for the brand we can expect to see in 2024.

*Drumroll please*

Lone River is releasing a new flavor this summer!

"There's not a lot I can share yet, but it is inspired by Texas. It might be our best flavor yet.”

The anticipation is killing us!

"You'll also see a new look and feel in our packaging. We want to refine a lot of the elements of our brand that we feel are core to who we are. But also, we're giving it a modern touch."

And thankfully, we don't have to wait too long since the big drop is being announced in May! Lone River is working with the Academy of Country Music Awards again this year and plans to show off the new drink at one of country music's biggest events.

Until then, we'll keep cracking open our favorite flavors at home.

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