Summer’s coming, and no one wants to sit around feeling bloated in a bathing suit. Bridging the gap between beer and hard seltzers, Jill and Bryce Morrison have introduced a cheeky line of fruity, vodka-laced canned water for sipping at the lake, beach, or around the pool.
During a Dominican Republic vacation in 2018, Jill fell in love with the self-serve carafes of spa water infused with fresh fruit stationed around her hotel. Eschewing overly sweet tropical rum cocktails, she instead asked bartenders to simply add a splash of vodka to her glass. “I didn’t want to taste the vodka or make it too strong,” she says. “I just wanted something refreshing that drank like water.”
Intent on recreating the recipe once she was back home in Ferdinand, Indiana, Jill started tinkering with adding fruit and vodka to bottled water. Stashing her experiments in coolers with labels to keep them safely separated from her kids’ pool drinks, Mom Water was born. As interest among friends grew, the Morrisons started exploring the viability of production and sales, incorporating the business in January 2020. “If you want to drink clean without a lot of calories and sugar, your options up to now have been low-carb beer, hard seltzer, straight alcohol, or dry wine,” Bryce says. “Mom Water is great for people who don’t handle carbonation well. We’re a unique option that addresses a big gap in the industry.”
Both Jill and Bryce worked in healthcare settings (she as an occupational therapist, he in community education for a local hospice provider), so they started consulting friendly contacts in the bourbon industry for advice. They enlisted a lab in Louisville to assist with product development. Then COVID hit. “All the distilleries shut down or shifted into making hand sanitizer,” Bryce recalls. “No one wanted to take on new products, but we just kept plugging.”
The couple finally found a willing production partner in Toledo, Ohio’s Maumee Bay Brewing Co., bringing in a mobile canning operation to manage the packaging. After four months, the Morrisons found themselves needing more canning capacity and are currently moving their operations to Blue Marble Productions in Indianapolis to keep up with demand.
Mom Water hit shelves in Indiana in March 2021, boasting a “squad” of flavors—the “Julie” inspired by Jill’s favorite passion fruit water in the Dominican Republic, the coconut mango–infused “Sandy,” the “Linda,” redolent of blueberry and peach, and the lemon blueberry–based “Karen.” (Four-packs sell for $9.99.) “Jill and I are both in our 40s and wanted to stick to generational names of our moms’ era,” Bryce explains.
Looking to expand distribution into 14 states by early summer, the Morrisons aim to turn out 750,000 cases of Mom Water this year and build a culture around their product. “We’ve got 12 employees now, and new flavors and other innovations in the pipeline,” Bryce notes. “We’re an alcoholic beverage company, but at the end of the day, we just want to make something that’s fun and bring a little brightness to our customers. That’s what we enjoy the most.