Picadas Hard Aguas Frescas Begins Distribution in Texas
Hard seltzer has rapidly colonized the beer coolers and liquor departments of Texas grocery stores in the past five years. An intriguing newcomer will be joining the hypercompetitive malternative ranks at an H-E-B near you soon. Monterey, Mexico-based Picadas Hard Aguas Frescas began distribution across more than 200 Texas H-E-B stores earlier in March.
“Más Sabor” and “Escarcharlo”: the Picadas Story
Picadas was founded in 2021 by Monterey native Hugo Martinez. While attending business school at Stanford, Martinez watched the canned cocktail industry explode. While Martinez marveled at the popularity of hard seltzers, he felt like there was something missing. “I craved the agua fresca flavors I grew up with – limonada, guava, and mango – that none of the American ready-to-drink options really captured.”
After completing his MBA, Martinez returned to Monterey and learned how to make homemade aguas frescas from his grandmother. “It was my favorite from when I was a kid and is now the base for every agua fresca we make,” Martinez says. “The fruit and flavor varied with what was in season, but the drink always had the perfect balance of sour, sweet, and tang.” After mastering the recipe, Martinez experimented with different fruits, juices, and alcohols. Feedback from friends and family came back to two things: “más sabor” (more flavor) and “escarcharlo” (a spicy, sour chile-lime salt rim to balance out the flavors).
A few months later, the first batch of Picadas (a spin on the slang term “con piquete,” spiked) went out to the public at mercados and farmers’ markets around Monterey. The seltzer was an immediate hit. Martinez quickly established strategic partnerships with grocery and liquor chains across Mexico to carry Picadas. One of these brands was H-E-B, which has more than sixty stores across northeastern Mexico. When Martinez decided that it was time for Picadas to enter the U.S. market, he partnered with Austin venture capital firm Redbud Brands and distributor Ben E. Keith.
Picadas currently offers three flavors: limonada, mango, and guava. Limonada has a zesty, sour-sweet flavor that comes from tart key limes. Mango uses sweet yellow mangos rather than the larger, more bitter red mangos commonly seen in U.S. supermarkets. Guava is made with Mexican guavas, which are lighter-colored and more floral than other varieties. A 12-ounce can contains 130 calories and 4.5% alc/vol. Each can is accompanied by a small packet of spicy chili salt for rimming. Six-packs retail for $10.99.