By Jennie Orton
VANCOUVER – It has happened to the best of us; the sun becomes a thing, the heat starts to hit our bare shoulders, summer starts happening and we get a thirst we have very little control over. A thirst for the unholiest of poisons: the vodka cooler. Though there have been many of the years that have captured the imagination and livers of summer revelers everywhere, one locally brewed treat in particular embodies everything about the long hot lazy days of summer and our collective desire to squeeze every last drop from them: Hey Y’all! Southern Style Hard Iced Tea.
Made in Vancouver, Hey Y’all! has become part of the BC experience, particularly for anyone who became of drinking age in the last three years. It has become an indelible presence in liquor stores and on patios, but what sets it apart from your Twisted Teas and your Palm Bays?
“I found them to be perfect for me because I tend to get a little sleepy while drinking, so the caffeine allows me to keep up,” says longtime fan Taylor Hunter.
The caffeine comes from the black tea used in the brewing and it gives Hey Y’all! that pep it puts in your step. The brand then is, by definition, a high energy entity and it shows in everything from their marketing to the events that they sponsor. Hey Y’all is served at Vancouver Canadians games, at something called the 5k Foam Fest, you’ll even be able to grab one to sip under your comically large hat at the Hastings Racecourse. Cause who doesn’t like a little hopped up sugar when hobbing and knobbing?
Unlike any other drink of its kind, Hey Y’all! has managed to harness a baffling level of loyalty from a fairly large cross section of Vancouver area drinkers.
“Our consumers are 100% what makes our brand entertaining. They associate Hey Y’all! with fun times and we respond, engage and get to know our drinkers. The amount of love we receive from our fans on social media is what keeps us wanting to do more and do better,” says Hey Y’all! representative Caroline Ross. She adds that the brand itself celebrates “making good friends during fun, relaxing, spontaneous, wild and affordable experiences.”
And that is part of the appeal; basic ingredients, affordability, and the catharsis of being allowed to be those annoying people having fun.
“The simplicity in that has always been appealing,” admits Hunter. “Hey Y’all’s totally symbolize summer beach days to me, and sunshine, and happy times enjoying the company of friends.”
It sounds basic but a legitimate nerve has most certainly been touched by this funny little hard iced tea. It’s the insidious drug with the loud packaging that many of us started drinking ironically but now find ourselves craving when seated at a patio when we should be ordering wine like all the other grown-ups. And when we order one, we share a knowing glance with those at the next table and we raise an obnoxiously bright can to each other, to taking ourselves a little less seriously, and to chasing that sweet sweet buzz.
You can grab Hey Y’all at most BC Liquor storeshey y'all