I try not to be a snob when it comes to alcohol. The world of wine is a vast, teeming, enchanted wilderness, one where varietal, price, and label design are never good reasons to write something off. With vino, I’m open to experimentation, but when sommelier Petra Polakovicova from Epic Steak tried to sell me on the merits of non-Franzia boxed wine, I couldn’t help it: I felt myself climbing onto my snobby high-horse.
After all, boxed wine doesn’t have a stunning reputation. It’s only recently that real inroads are being made to prove it’s more than a cheap, bag-slapping, boozy fruit juice, and some credit for that must be given to Black Box. The brand is behind 11 quality varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, rosé, and Malbec, bringing home more than 50 gold medals in national wine competitions. Now, Black Box is at it again, proving you can have your boxed liquor and drink it, too with the release of its new Black Box Whiskey, Black Box Vodka, and Black Box Tequila.
In case you’re wondering why no one has poured fermented wheat into a cardboard box before — someone has. In 2016, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky debuted a 3.5-liter box of the spicy booze, delighting college students and ushering in a new era of hangovers.
Not the case for Black Box, which wants to marry affordable boozing with quality booze, just in time for backyard barbeques and margarita nights. The whiskey, which the website describes as “toasty, spicy, and complex,” has been aged for six years and matured in American oak. The vodka is for those seeking something “crisp, clean, smooth” and is triple distilled, filtered five times, and made with high-quality grain and mountain spring water. Because no summer is complete without a tequila shot or two, the “clean, smooth” silver tequila is made in Mexico from fine blue agave with citrus notes.
No Slap-the-Bag here: the 1.75-liter box is supposed to be shatterproof and portable — and comes in packaging so sleek it looks like something refined and not-boxed waits inside. You can currently purchase Black Box Spirits in select states including Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The vodka will cost you $22.99, with the tequila and whiskey coming in at $24.99 — you can thank reduced packaging and transportation costs for the discounted price tag.
The boxed booze revolution has not been a rapid one, though it is underway. In 2016, it grew its market share by 13.7 percent, and in 2017, it grew by 15.2 percent. Whether Black Box Spirits will do for liquor what it did for wine remains to be seen. At the very least, they’re a great option when you’re headed to an impromptu summer party and need something to curb thirsts without breaking the bank.