Saturday, April 12, 2014

PSA: "Low calorie" alcohol does not exist (sorry Keel vodka)

Make sure to read the
fine print: "23.8% alc/vol"
A little while back my bar started carrying Keel vodka.  You may have seen it advertised while watching the Celtics, Red Sox or Bruins.  Its website calls it a "premium light spirit."  Their shtick is that it contains just 58 calories per 1.5 oz serving (standard shot size), while average vodkas like Grey Goose, Ketel One, and Stoli have roughly 103 calories per serving.  Wow!  That's amazing, right?

Nope.  Keel vodka is 23.8% alcohol by volume.  Standard vodkas (or any spirits for that matter) are 40% alcohol.  So while Keel may have roughly 60% of the calories of other vodkas, it also consists of just 60% of the alcohol.

Rather than buying a bottle of Keel (or any other "light" liquors, I hate to pick on just them) here's my recommendation:

Purchase something like Stoli instead for basically the same price.  Invite me over.  I'll drink 2/5ths of it, then fill the bottle up with water for you.  Voila, you'll have the same thing!  Back when you were in high school your parents were probably drinking Keel from their liquor cabinet without even knowing!

Another option if you'd like to save yourself some money, just mix your vodka-tonics with about an ounce of something else rather than 1.5 oz of Keel.  Your drinks will taste the same, you'll still get an equal buzz, and you're bottle will last 40% longer!

RELATED: Public Service Announcement about "Skinny Girl" drinks


  1. My dude, I gotta say that I dig the lower alcohol thing. I got to try this stuff up a Gillette the other day and it was awesome. I was boozing for a solid 6 hours and by the end of the game I felt great. I wasn't groggy like i usually get when I throw back whiskey and light beer. As I get older, I'm not worried about getting hammered as much as I just wanna have a good time. That said, I see your point and hat's off to keel for trying to do things a little differently. I can't honestly tell the difference between good vodkas these days....

    1. I totally understand what you're saying, and you do have a valid point. But here's the thing, if you buy Keel you're just paying for watered down vodka. Buy less of something else, add water, and get more for the same price!

  2. You are completely right, Mark. This is not something people are used to hearing. Honestly, I think this is one of the more interesting yet simplistic product concepts to come around in while and therefore marketing is going to play a big role. Let me give you an example.

    Buy a budweiser, add water to it and you've got bud light, right? Even you wouldn't agree with that statement, but to some degree it's true. you're getting less of something for the same price. The reason most people don't call Bud Light "watered down beer" is because people have had years to come around to the idea of light beer - and now they are considered completely different products. I think bud light was reintroduced to the market 3 times after failing for several years and now it's the most popular beer in the world. Just some food for thought. I think we'd both agree that marketing is everything in the booze business...

    1. You make a great point. And it's funny you use the Bud/Bud Light analogy--when I first started going to bars (and to this day Bud heavy is my go to beer) I always drank Buds instead of Lights, because why pay for 4 beers when I could get the same buzz from 3? Your marketing takes time point makes a lot of sense. I just don't see it happening with vodka though. Unlike beer which comes in a single serving can or bottle, with vodka your pouring and mixing anyway, so why not just use less of a stronger one?

    2. I see your point. I did some research on the distiller. They don't mess around and have been producing domestic craft spirits for a long time. As a consumer that matters to me and I'm sure they wouldn't put their name on an inferior product. The fact of the matter is, KEEL isn't going to be for everyone all the time. But I do think it's a new product concept that other brands will likely copy in the future (ex. Grey Goose Light) and when that happens you and I will be proud to have known the original.

  3. I'm not really one to look at percentages on bottles... I just assume it's 40% if it's a vodka.. But I was wondering how it was both delicious and didn't give me much of a hangover... So I bought a bottle... Brought it home... Put it in the freezer... And there you have it... With that said.. They shouldn't be able to call it "vodka"


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