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For the classy 190 proof drinker

Tim Nelson
September 27, 2018

Depending on when and where you went to college, you either know of Everclear as the '90s post-grunge band that wrote “Father of Mine,” or as vomit-inducing nightmare fuel. Neither of those Everclears have aged very well, which is why the liquid version is attempting to stage something of a comeback.

In the near future, those who are lucky(?) enough to live in states where Everclear is legal may notice a more dressed-up version of the 190 proof liquor on store shelves. Gone will be the label with dire all-caps warnings that the grain alcohol/jet fuel both “MAY ENDANGER YOUR HEALTH” and is “EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE.” They’ll be replaced by a cleaned-up minimalist design by David Cole that describes Everclear as of the “Highest quality” and that it should be used to “extract” “infuse” and “fortify,” uh, something.

“Through this packaging, our goal is to encompass the simple, high-quality and versatile nature of the product,” said Everclear brand manager Katie Schuette to BevNet. “The brand’s new look is clean and modern—while still maintaining the iconic logo – and more in tune with the way consumers and mixologists use the product in the current craft cocktail culture.”

To further drive home the new “we’re not just for hazing college students anymore!” brand, Everclear’s got a shiny new website. It’s got a vaguely prohibition-era aesthetic, which makes sense given that the 1920’s were probably the last time anyone drank this kind of hooch while wearing a suit.

But whereas your standard gin or vodka brand site could teach you how to make a nice martini, Everclear basically wants to show you how you to successfully dilute grain alcohol to the point that it’s a normal thing that a human being could drink. The site’s FAQ’s insist everclear should be “viewed as an unfinished ingredient” that is “virtually unbeaten in the realm of infusions”, which is plausible given that there isn’t much room for any adulterating flavors when you’re working with something that is literally 95% alcohol.

It makes sense that Everclear is endeavoring to reframe itself as something that one could ostensibly enjoy in moderation. Millennials are not only drinking less, they’re also more likely to stay home and save money when they do. So there’s a case to be made that Everclear needs to either adapt or become a very obvious casualty of our more teetotalling tastes.

But will the sexier label and high-effort mixology recipes convince product members of society to pick up and purchase Everclear? That’s the 190 proof question.  

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