We Tried Volley Tequila Seltzers, And This Is How It Went

The spiked seltzer market is quite a crowded field these days. From the OG, White Claw, to relative newcomers like Sonic Seltzer and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, it seems like every beverage company on earth is throwing its proverbial hat into this particular ring. It might seem difficult, even foolhardy, to try to break into the hard seltzer business when there's already so much competition. The challenge is even greater for a new, small business trying to take on industry titans like Mark Anthony Brands (which owns Mike's Hard and White Claw) and Coca-Cola (the makers of Topo Chico).

Volley Tequila Seltzer, which was launched in the summer of 2020 by a pair of entrepreneurs who also happen to be a married couple, is trying to beat the big boys by making a higher quality product (via Forbes). In order to rise above the hard seltzer fray, Volley is positioning itself as a "clean" tequila seltzer. Of course, alcohol is a toxin, so there's a limit to how "clean" any alcoholic beverage can be. With that said, Volley's product really does differentiate itself from other spiked seltzers both in its ingredients list and in its flavor. Read on to learn more about this unique beverage and find out whether it's worth picking up a few cans for yourself.

What's in Volley Tequila Seltzer?

Volley is made in a very different way from most other hard seltzers on the market. A standard hard seltzer is usually a fermented beverage made by combining yeast with a source of sugar, often malt. The process is very similar to the way beer is made, except that with seltzers, the goal is for the resulting alcohol to have as little taste as possible so manufacturers can have the flexibility to add whatever flavorings they want to after brewing. After the alcohol is brewed, it's combined with carbonated water and flavored with essential oils, extracts, and other natural flavors.

Volley Tequila Seltzer's manufacturing process is incredibly simple compared to the science involved in a brewed hard seltzer. According to the company's site, each flavor contains only three ingredients: sparkling water, tequila, and juice. They're not skimping on quality either, as the tequila is 100% blue agave and the juice is organic. Per a Volley press release, the company's founders were inspired to make a seltzer with a short ingredient list (that they print on the cans) because they wanted to introduce transparency to the ready-to-drink alcohol market. In the U.S., alcohol brands aren't required to print ingredients on labels like food manufacturers are, so there's no way of knowing what the mysterious "natural flavors" in a regular can of seltzer actually are.

How much does Volley Tequila Seltzer cost?

We would definitely consider Volley to be a premium product. Sourcing tequila from Jalisco and using organic juices to flavor the drink can't be cheap, and those production costs are passed on to the consumer. If you buy Volley directly from the manufacturer, it'll run you $29.98 for an eight-pack. You don't get a quantity discount if you buy more either, as a 48-pack (which is six times as many cans as an eight-pack), costs $179.88, exactly six times as much as the smallest package. That works out to just under $3.75 per can.

Almost four bucks a serving is pretty steep when you can get a 12-pack of White Claw for around $15, especially since, at 5.25% alcohol by volume, you're getting pretty much the same amount of alcohol in a can of Volley as you do in a 5% ABV White Claw (via Total Wine). However, as we have mentioned, the two seltzers really aren't really the same thing at all, and you might like the taste of Volley enough for it to be worth the extra money. Volley might also be worth it if knowing the ingredients in the things you consume is very important to you.

Where can you buy Volley Tequila Seltzer?

As we referenced in the above slide, you can buy Volley straight from the source on the company's website and have it shipped to your house. If you buy a 24-pack or more, you don't have to pay for shipping.

If you'd rather venture out into the real world to get your hands on Volley, the company has a handy store locator on their site. You can use filters to select either bars/restaurants or retail stores and see if anyone is selling Volley in your area. Although the product is relatively new, it's already pretty widely distributed, and there are businesses selling Volley throughout the Southwest, South, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions of the U.S. However, it appears that stores and bars in the Pacific Northwest and much of the Midwest have yet to hop aboard the Volley bandwagon, as those regions look pretty blank on the map.

Nutrition

Most spiked seltzers advertise themselves as a low-calorie alcohol option, and Volley is no different, with each can coming in at 100 calories (via Volley). There's no added sugar in Volley, and the only flavoring agent in each can is organic juice. Each variety of volley is flavored with a juice with known health benefits, like ginger or grapefruit, but considering the small amounts used as part of a mixed drink, these ingredients are unlikely to make much of a difference in your health.

In addition to using "clean" ingredients, Volley also touts its new "clean" can design, which incorporates a foil cover that protects the lid of the can. According to a press release from the company, the foil prevents the top of the can from being contaminated with bacteria and other nasty stuff on its way from the factory to your house. That's a good idea for something you're most likely going to put in your mouth, especially in these germ-conscious times.

Now that we've gotten all the preliminaries out of the way, it's time to move on to our taste test. All of the flavors of Volley are at least pretty good, and some are excellent. We've placed the flavors in order, starting with our least favorite and working up to the best.

Sharp Grapefruit

They're not lying when they say this is sharp. If you've only consumed grapefruit in sweetened form or as a flavoring in other types of hard seltzer, you will be surprised by how astringent this tastes. Since there's no added sugar, there's nothing to cover up the pronounced bitterness and puckery acidity of the fresh grapefruit juice. If you like that sort of thing, this will be right up your alley, but some people might want the sharpness of this balanced with a little more sweetness.

The grapefruit flavor is stronger than the fruit flavors of some of the other drinks in Volley's lineup and becomes more pronounced in the aftertaste. As you sip this, your tongue becomes acclimated to the grapefruit, and it starts feeling a little more mellow. This one was quite carbonated, with the type of little bubbles that tickle your nose on the way down. This was the variety we enjoyed the least, but a lot of that comes down to our personal feelings about grapefruit rather than the merits of the drink on its own.

Spicy Ginger

In terms of flavor intensity of the main ingredient, this one is the polar opposite of the grapefruit. While the ginger was definitely noticeable, it didn't exactly deliver the "spice" promised by the can. On the bright side, the ginger flavor tasted both real and natural, like something you'd make at home rather than something concocted by professional flavor scientists. The relative mellowness of the ginger juice let the taste of the tequila shine through, which wasn't a bad thing. It definitely tastes like they're using a nicer tequila to make these, so if you're a tequila fan, you'll enjoy this flavor of Volley.

This one was noticeably less carbonated than the grapefruit. We noticed a high level of variation in carbonation levels between all the flavors of Volley we sampled. We're not sure if that's intentional on their part, or if some of the specific cans they sent to us just happened to be less bubbly for some reason.

Tropical Mango

This one is super yummy. If you ordered this at a bar, you wouldn't be disappointed. The tequila flavor and aroma start off strong, but as you continue drinking they become tempered by the fruitiness of the mango juice. If we have a complaint about the flavor, it's that it doesn't actually taste very much like mango. We're not accusing Volley of not using mango juice in this, but in the context of this mixed drink, it tastes more like generic citrus than the fruit it's supposed to taste like. It's still delicious though, so we can't complain too much.

Unlike all the other flavors, which are a cloudy off-white color, this one is more of a tawny orange. This was the least carbonated of the bunch, with just a hint of fizz. One thing that all the flavors of Volley have in common is that they're noticeably thinner than a standard brewed hard seltzer. Most spiked seltzers have a mouthfeel more like beer than like regular carbonated water. Since Volley is spiked with hard liquor rather than a malt-based alcohol, its texture is much closer to that of plain seltzer.

Zesty Lime

Welcome to Margaritaville! Lime is a classic mixer for tequila, and there's a good reason for this: It works really well. The lime-flavored Volley gives you classic lime margarita vibes without going over the edge to being excessively acidic. As its name implies, it hits the perfect note of zestiness, with the lime juice balancing the hard liquor burn of the tequila perfectly. The combination of carbonation and citrus also makes this variety pretty much a canned version of a ranch water cocktail (no, ranch water is not ranch-flavored).

Since there's no sugar in this, it's pretty savory, with an aftertaste that could almost be described as salty (in a good way, like the salt rim on a marg). It's the easiest to drink and the most refreshing of all the flavors offered by Volley, and it's easy to imagine having a few of these during a backyard barbecue on a sunny day.