Entrepreneur Dynamo Runs America’s No. 1 Ranch Water Brand Out of Fort Worth — The True Texas Tale of Lone River and Katie Beal Brown

Katie Beal Brown grew up primarily in West Texas, hails from Midland, and her family ranch still owns the property in Fort Davis. This Texan through and through is the founder of no. 1 selling hard seltzer in the state of Texas. Her Lone River Ranch Water is also getting a national moment, spreading the mystique of West Texas and the simplicity of its classic cocktail.

Many places are associated with a signature drink. When you’re in New Orleans, you order a Sazerac. Must be a mint julep in Kentucky. You should be sipping a Moscow Mule in Connecticut. Where Brown grew up, the drink of choice was ranch water—usually tequila, soda, and a squeeze of lime—the simple, refreshing, low-sugar cousin of the margarita.

Ranch water is quickly gaining fans these days, and the success of Katie Beal Brown’s canned cocktail brand certainly has something to do with it.

“When I was living in New York, I used to serve ranch water to friends,” says Beal Brown PaperCity Fort Worth. “It allowed me to better describe where I was coming from.”

Her friends loved it, and in recent years the legend of the ranch water has really caught on. Brown’s own ranch roots gave her the idea to can the West Texas classic, which she did in 2020. Lone River Ranch Water continued to ride the wave of tequila’s renewed popularity, as well as the low-carb craze.

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The latest addition is the Ranch Rita, and Katie Beal Brown says more new flavors are coming.
The latest addition is the Ranch Rita, and Katie Beal Brown says more new flavors are coming.

“We were the first ranch water to be sold in cans, and with the success we saw, it attracted a lot of competition,” says Brown. “It’s very validating. We remain #1 in Texas and the US”

This place no. 1 comes from Nielsen’s calculations. Lone River Ranch Water currently outpaces its closest competitor, with more than double the market share in the ranch water/agave seltzer segment. In fact, Lone River has collected between 44 and 48 percent of total market sales in recent months.

Most cans of Lone River have 80 calories, four percent ABV and only two carbs. The simple ingredients don’t contain tequila, but these ranch-infused drinks mimic the taste of sparkling water, alcohol, lime juice, and organic agave nectar. There are four flavors, including the original, tangy, red Rio grapefruit, and you can also try a prickly pear variety in the 12-pack.

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After founding Lone River, Beal Brown and her husband moved to Fort Worth to continue growing their beverage empire and family.

“My husband is from Houston,” she says. “So Fort Worth seemed like the perfect proximity between Houston and West Texas. It has a small town feel with access to all the culture.”

Lone River and future beverage plans

After quickly rising to the top of the Texas and Tennessee agave market in August 2021, Lone River was acquired by Diageo, helping it become a national brand. With its massive presence in the spirits market, Diageo has amassed more than 200 brands, including Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Casamigos and Guinness. Beal Brown appreciates that Diageo believes that every brand has its own story and wants it to continue to tell the unique story of Lone River Ranch Water.

Brand ambassador Ryan Bingham and Lone River Ranch Water CEO Katie Beal Brown know it's a Texas thing.
Brand ambassador Ryan Bingham and Lone River Ranch Water CEO Katie Beal Brown know it’s a Texas thing.

“We’re headquartered in Fort Worth, but now we have manufacturing all over the country,” says Beal Brown. “We went national last year and currently work with over 300 distributors. For this, we needed a strategic partner with expertise.”

Katie Beal Brown believes that it all comes back to the origin story, making her canned cocktail different from others on the market. The vastness of West Texas is enhanced by the packaging and marketing of Lone River Ranch Water. They work with famous brand ambassadors such as musician/actor Ryan Bingham, and med Yellowstone premiere (of course, Yellowstone is the show that made Bingham famous).

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“We shot our first ad on my family ranch with our own hands,” says Beal Brown.

Lone River Ranch Water continues to tell its story and spread the simplicity of ranch water across the country. Last year, Lone River introduced its newest flavor, called Ranch Rita, to great success. The canned margarita uses the same simple ingredients, but the recipe is a little heavier on the lime and agave side, making it 150 calories, six percent ABV and 12 carbs. Beal Brown narrates PaperCity that new flavors will soon be added to the Ranch Rita line.

Now, Lone River Ranch Water can say it’s West Texas-bred, based in Fort Worth and the No. 1 in the country. It’s not a bad Texas story.


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