This April marks 25 years of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Since its humble beginnings as a one-man operation in Austin, Texas, Tito’s has made a name for itself as a world-class vodka, meant to be savored alongside life’s best moments.
Tito’s has always taken its commitment to supporting its fans’ communities and entrepreneurship endeavors seriously. Why, may you ask? Because love for community and the drive to be bold are the roots that have grown into the Tito’s Handmade Vodka family for 25 years.
The Story of Tito’s
It all started in the 1990s, when Bert “Tito” Beveridge began experimenting with infusing vodka with habaneros as a homemade gift for friends and family in Austin, Texas. Later that decade, the real estate market crashed, leaving Tito, who was working in the mortgage trade, at a loss for his next business venture.
RECIPE: Tito’s Habanero Infusion
- 750 mL Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 1-2 habanero peppers, sliced
- Slice habaneros and remove seeds
- Drop habanero slices into a resealable glass container and fill with Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
- Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove peppers when the infusion reaches desired flavor.
- Pro-Tip: Pour over ice and add a squeeze of lime for a Tito’s Fire & Lime.
Tito took a leap of faith and decided to go all in on his hobby-turned-signature gift. When asking liquor store owners if they’d be willing to carry his product, Tito was told the one thing that the market was craving was a vodka smooth enough to drink straight, something considered to be an impossible dream by many.
Not one to miss out on an opportunity just because of a challenge, Tito rolled up his sleeves and set out studying photos of moonshiners and prohibition-era busts—remember, this is pre-internet times—generating inspiration from those who used nothing but their wits, grit, and minimal resources to build their own stills. After much trial and error and a whole lot of vodka, Tito stumbled upon the perfect formula, creating the blueprint for what would soon be known as Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Despite this breakthrough in creating the perfect product, Tito was still new to the vodka business and faced roadblocks at every turn, most notably in trying to get a permit for a distillery. Potential investors were convinced that Tito would never find a way to legally build a distillery in Texas—and even if he did, who would sell this unknown vodka in their stores?
It was too late to turn back now—plus the vodka was too good not to be shared with the public—so Tito took one of his biggest risks yet. He racked up about $88,000 worth of charges on 19 credit cards, plus withdrew money out of his personal accounts, just to be able to infuse his dream with the capital it needed to get off the ground. He then turned his attention to getting his permits.
Tito was told that Texas has never licensed a distillery simply because the law didn’t permit it. But something in Tito’s gut told him to take another look at the law, prompting him to dig into the 3-inch-thick codebook himself. Lo and behold, there was no statute that prohibited licensing a distillery. Tito was officially in the vodka business.
RECIPE: Tito’s Shack Cherry Sour
- 1 ½ oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- ¼ oz orange liqueur
- 1 oz cherry juice
- ¼ oz lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- Add all ingredients to a shaker and dry shake.
- Add ice and shake again.
- Strain into a glass.
Tito’s started small—literally in a 998-square-foot shack-turned-stillhouse—but has grown into one of the most iconic vodkas on the market since its humble origins in the ’90s. Still, this vodka has never abandoned its lovable Texas bravado and pay-it-forward attitude.
The idea behind Love, Tito’s—the philanthropic heart of the brand—started with Tito himself in the early days of the distillery. While still getting his footing as a businessman in the world of spirits, a local nonprofit in Austin reached out and asked if Tito would donate a few cases of vodka for a fundraising event. Recognizing an opportunity to support his local community and gain awareness for the vodka, Tito happily obliged with only one caveat: “If you like it, tell 20 of your closest friends.”
The fundraising event was a success for the nonprofit and for Tito’s too. Inspired by this foray into philanthropy, the Tito’s team began sharing the love through small, localized gestures in communities across the country. Donating time, money, and of course, vodka, started small but grew alongside the business itself. Today, Love, Tito’s makes an impact around the country through volunteering efforts and donations in support of local organizations that share Tito’s commitment to community members.
Love, Tito’s work now extends across the country, including up to the North Star State. Here in Minnesota, Tito’s has worked with local nonprofits that support our most vulnerable communities, often through partnering on events that help our communities enjoy the great Minnesota outdoors. Tito’s work with the Confidence Learning Center in Brainerd has brought outdoor learning experiences to people of all ages who have developmental or cognitive disabilities, specifically through sponsoring golf, fishing, and women’s leadership events. Similarly, Tito’s has also collaborated on snowmobile tours and fishing contests with Never Surrender Inc, a charitable organization that raises money to fight ALS and support families affected by this disease. Love, Tito’s has also engaged in Minnesota’s favorite pastime by collaborating on the David Wynn Bingham Foundation signature Pond Hockey with a Heart tournament on Lake Minnetonka. Through their philanthropic work, Love, Tito’s strives to give back to Minnesota in ways that honor the best of local culture and community.
RECIPE: Tito’s American Mule
- 1 ½ oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 3 oz ginger beer
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 lime slice, garnish
- Add all ingredients to a Tito’s Copper Mug with ice
- Stir and garnish with a lime slice.
In a world where leading by example can be a lonely thing to do, Tito’s Handmade Vodka has never shied away from being a trailblazer, all while enjoying good spirits, good times, and doing the good work. Cheers to 25 years of loving Tito’s and Love, Tito’s!