You know what totally sucks about getting wasted? The dry mouth, spinning room, endless headaches, and digestive problems you endure the next day. If only there were a healthy vodka, one I could go blotto on that was actually good for me. Well, looky here: San Francisco–based booze-making startup Lotus Vodka is marketing its vitamin-enhanced spirits as just that.
The curious thing about the company's marketing campaign is you won't see it on any billboards, TV ads, or even on bottles of its product. That's because doing so could unleash the wrath of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, better known as the TTB, which allows Lotus to put vitamins in its vodka, but doesn't allow it to say so in its marketing materials. Surely the TTB can't risk being slapped with lawsuits filed by heartbroken families when daddy's liver failure is linked to his belief that a few martinis in the morning are the rough equivalent of a Centrum tablet.
So Lotus is cleverly getting around those government restrictions using word of mouth. "I can tell you factually ... what it contains," CEO Rob Bailey explains, "but I can't put 'contains B vitamins' on the bottle." (Full disclosure: Lotus was a sponsor of the SF Weekly Music Awards.)
In that spirit, Lotus hosted a tasting specifically for journalists at Frisson a few weeks ago where Bailey could tell reporters the, uh, facts about the "health" benefits of his product, White Lotus. In case you were wondering why he was so eager to round up reporters for a tasting, Lotus can take a newspaper clipping, such as this one, and quote us quoting him that his vodka is chock-full of B vitamins. Lotus' Web site quotes an August article in 7X7: "Why settle for regular vodka when you can have your martini (and vitamins) and drink it too?" Okay, cue our Bailey quote: "Two decent-sized cocktails with White Lotus will give you 100 percent of your daily B vitamins."
But try this on for size. Rob insisted I use direct quotes from him such as "Alcohol is a drug" and "Alcohol is bad for you." Let's see if Lotus includes that last sentence in its press materials. Better yet, let's see if that makes it into the advertising campaign. After all, that's perfectly legal.