Award-Winning All Hands Craft Cocktails Arrives in Austin
Founder and CEO Josh Sanders shares the story behind the fruit-flavored vodka sodas
By Meher Qazilbash
Photos by Holly Cowart
All Hands Craft Cocktails, the acclaimed line of canned vodka sodas, is now in plentiful supply here in Austin. The Houston-born brand recently expanded statewide and is available in all Total Wine & More stores in our city.
The journey to creating this product started three years ago, when founder and CEO Josh Sanders noticed something lacking in the world of canned cocktails. Sanders’ decade of experience in the world of finance helped inform his decision to venture into making a product that makes up for the shortcomings of its contenders.
“We spend a lot of time looking at markets and trying to identify inefficiencies,” shares Sanders. “Canned alternatives to beers really presented an environment that was ripe for taking advantage of inefficiencies.”
All Hands was born to improve upon the common issues Sanders noticed in the world of packaged alcoholic beverages. Their team set out to raise the bar with their taste, quality of ingredients and cocktail strength. With refreshing transparency and positive reviews, it’s clear that they’re not all talk.
The company has earned two gold medals from the world’s most prestigious spirits competition, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This year, the Ruby Red Grapefruit flavor, a delicious drink made from the beloved Texas citrus, took the crown. Their other bold flavors include Raspberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Cranberry and Vodka Tonic Classic, all derived from real fruits.
All Hands uses distilled spirits, rather than following the trend of using sugar beer, wine-based or malt liquor-based beverages that result in a more watered-down taste.
“Many [other canned cocktails] are using low-quality bases,” says Sanders. “They don’t talk about how many times it’s been distilled or the grade of the alcohol. We only use grade 9, six-times distilled vodka — the best vodka we can source in the U.S. We only use 100% all natural, gluten-free ingredients that are derived from fruits and vegetables.”
Store-bought beverages have a tendency to carry nearly half the alcohol by volume (ABV) of the cocktails you would order from a bar or restaurant. While the typical canned seltzer has an ABV of approximately 5%, All Hands delivers a 10% ABV drink, giving you as real a cocktail as you can get without a bartender involved.
“We want customers to have the same experience if they ordered that cocktail at a bar, restaurant or made it themselves, but now it’s in the convenience of a can you can take anywhere,” says Sanders.
Cultivating experiences, particularly open-air adventures, is vital to the All Hands team. The company’s name itself is a shortened version of the phrase “all hands on deck,” a playful nod to the nautical world. The coastal feel of the brand honors both Sanders’ personal background as a third-generation former U.S. Marine, as well as the brand’s place of origin, as Houston is a large port city on the Texas coast. All Hands is also a communal name that encourages consumers to come together for a good time.
“The culture of our brand is about reaching out to people like us and building a fleet,” says Sanders. “We want people to go outside. We want to empower people to grab their favorite humans, go outdoors, make memories and take us with you. That is our mission.”
All Hands’ love for the outdoors extends into addressing the environment’s needs. Protecting natural environments is a huge focus for the company, shown through their partnerships with organizations like Stewards of the Wild, encouraging Texans to actively participate in preserving local habitats, and 1% for the Planet, contributing 1% of the company’s revenue to conservation efforts.
“We are fanatical about wild places and we are fanatical about protecting wild places for future generations and for people of all walks of life,” shares Sanders. “That is foundational to what we do and we’ll continue to expand that to other organizations whose culture aligns with ours.”
With well-made, tasty beverages and strong morals, All Hands Cocktails is an ideal addition to Austin’s local lifestyle.
All Hands cocktails are available in all Total Wine & More stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, all Goody Goody stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and nearly 70 independent liquor store retailers across the state.
To learn more and find their drinks near you, visit allhandscocktails.com.