Even with no end in sight for the hard seltzer boom and an ever-growing selection of RTD beverages entering the market, hard tea remains the safest bet to continue its domination in the hard alternative sub-category.
As VinePair recently reported, sales of hard tea have grown exponentially over the last year. In fact, Drizly’s BevAlc Insights demonstrates that the category had an impressive 462 percent increase in sales in 2020, and based on data from Nielsen, hard tea is now considered to be the best-selling hard seltzer alternative.
As more brands saturate the market with their boozy takes on the beloved sipper, there’s never been a better time to learn about the true OG of hard tea: Twisted Tea. Keep reading for eight more things you didn’t know about the malt-based beverage that started the trend.
Twisted Comes From a True Pioneer in the Beverage World
Twisted Tea is owned by beverage giant Boston Beer Company. Known as one of the country’s largest brewers and for its crucial role in the emergence of the craft brewing industry with its famous Samuel Adams Boston Lager, the company also produces Truly Hard Seltzer and Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
Twisted Tea Is Older Than You Think
Though the boozy tea trend has picked up in recent years, it’s worth noting that the Boston Beer Company actually launched Twisted Tea way back in 2001. The original flavor was the brand’s take on a Southern sweet tea with a twist of lemon — though the brand has since expanded its product line.
It May or May Not Have Been Named After a Rock Band
The product was originally released by Boston Beer as BoDean’s Twisted Tea in 2000, but an indie rock band from Milwaukee called BoDeans sued the brewery for trademark infringement. The two parties came to a settlement later that year, and the name was dropped from the product.
The City of Brotherly Love Really Pines for Twisted Light
Based on a heat map tweeted by Twisted Tea, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Philly citizens drink more Twisted Tea Light than those in any other city in the U.S. Angelenos came in second as the next most obsessed fans of “Twea Light,” which has a slightly lower ABV of 4 percent and is estimated to have 109 calories in a 12-ounce serving.
The Brand Went Viral Following a Racist Incident
In December, 2020, Twisted Tea received an unexpected amount of press after a Black man named Barry Allen hit an unnamed white male over the head with a can of Twisted Tea in response to a barrage of racist comments. The event, which took place in an Ohio convenience store, was filmed by another customer and showed Allen attempting to purchase the tallboy of tea while being verbally assaulted. The brawl was later named “TeaKO” and set off an endless series of memes and video remixes.
Twisted Tea Will Get You Wired
Albeit not quite as much as a cup of Joe. As the company states, its products are brewed with real tea leaves, meaning “Twea” is slightly caffeinated. And while a 12-ounce can of Twisted has approximately 30 milligrams of caffeine, a cup of coffee is estimated to have around 100 milligrams.
A Golf Legend Would Be Proud
At 5 percent ABV, Twisted Tea’s Half & Half flavor is essentially a boozy Arnold Palmer, made with half lemonade and half tea. The brand also brews a “Slightly Sweet Tea,” made with half the sugar found in the “Original,” along with several fruit-based flavors, from blackberry and peach to mango and strawberry.
Your Mug Could Be on a Can of Twisted
If you love Twisted Tea, here’s your chance to show your loyalty. As a tribute to its fans, Twisted features photos of its devotees on the back label of its products. Confusingly, if you want to be considered, just don’t dress like Santa Claus.