I went to the Hearts on Fire concert this past weekend to fill my soul with punk nostalgia. There was a lot of sweat, oddly shaped people wearing fishnet leggings, and loud but terrible sound quality. Or in other words, all the glory I imagined it would be.
After Mayday Parade performed, I walked to the bar and asked for water. The bartender said it would be four dollars while grabbing an aluminum can with the words, "Liquid Death," on it. She was about to open the can when I said, "No thank you.” I'd rather die of dehydration than pay the equivalent of 20 McNuggets for something that a lot of people think is a human right. That’s not even including tip.
"Can I have a glass of water?" The bartender didn't respond but pointed to a dingy water fountain in the corner.
I understand that concert venues need to make money but I've also been to concerts where water is inaccessible and people start collapsing. Nobody is thinking of water when they're singing along to their favorite songs for hours on end. It's a fine line between making money and ensuring your customers' well-being.
The "Liquid Death" can intrigued me. It looked like a beer but it was water. For the teetotalers, it's a way to hold something in your hand and fit in. For the penny-pinchers, it's a way to fuck yourself.
On their website, they say, "Kill Plastic," and have a video from a porn star explaining, "how to not f*** the planet." You get the vibe here.
This was the first time I saw water packaged in a beer-style aluminum can. I've seen water boxed in a milk-carton-style package e.g., Boxed Water. We're all familiar with single-use plastic water bottles. Path sells water in aluminum bottles that they designed for refill; I've seen them at airports. Boxed Water also claims you can refill water in their cartons but it's an awkward shape to carry around, especially while traveling.
I've also seen videos of water packaged in a sort of biofilm that makes the water look like a bubble. However, I've never seen it in use anywhere.
People love water... well, they need water. And they are willing to buy it in all forms - even though it's free and safe in most places in the US. Context matters. If you want to upsell "cool" water to people at a concert, you're going to sell Liquid Death. If you want to distribute water in the cheapest way possible after a natural disaster, then single-use plastic is your best bet.
The packaged water economy is strong and omnipresent, but the next time I ask for a glass of water, can you just give me a glass of water?
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