Texas-born Tito's Vodka takes off aboard United flights

Thu May 9, 2013 2:36pm EDT
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By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) - A small-batch vodka made in Austin, Texas, has found its way onto one of the world's biggest airlines.

Tito's Handmade Vodka, created by geologist and geophysicist Bert "Tito" Beveridge, is now the exclusive vodka supplier to United Airlines, the companies are set to announce on Friday.

They declined to discuss terms of the agreement, but industry sources say that selling alcohol to airlines is not that profitable, since drinks are often complimentary in Business or First Class.

Still, for Tito's, which is relatively small and virtually unknown outside the United States, Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the deal is an opportunity to get the word out.

"I never thought it would go from being this one-man show to being on an airline. I always thought you had to be this big multinational corporation for that," said the 51-year-old Beveridge.

Tito's replaced Pernod Ricard's Absolut vodka on United flights at the start of the month. A spokesman for Pernod declined to comment.

Vodka is the top-selling spirit on airplanes, as it is in the United States. It is also quite competitive.

The world's No. 1 vodka, which is also the top-selling spirit of any kind, is Diageo Plc's Smirnoff, which rang up an estimated 26.3 million 9-liter cases last year, according to Impact Databank.   Continued...