The Moscow Mule is neither Russian nor related to an equine, but it is one of the more popular drinks of the past decade. The classic alcoholic refresher — perfect on a summer’s day — is purported to have been invented in the 1940s in a Los Angeles bar by a trio of American spirit company executives who combined vodka, lime juice and ginger beer in one origin story and by a New York bar (combining the same ingredients) looking to empty its inventory in another.
It should be no great surprise then, that Norwalk-based Reed’s Inc., a top American ginger beer brand (which is non-alcoholic) established in 1989, is bringing its first-ever ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage to market with Reed’s Zero Sugar Classic Mule in partnership with Hood River, OR-based Full Sail Brewing Company.
According to Norman Snyder, Reeds CEO,, a 25-year veteran of the beverage industry and a longtime Wilton resident, creating Reed’s Zero-Sugar Classic Mule was a no-brainer.
“Consumers want a ready-to-drink option,” he explained. “Ginger beer is a big mixer with alcohol — it’s a natural fit — and there’s been tremendous growth over the past five years in alternative alcoholic drinks like spiked seltzers. The Moscow Mule is the most well-known, so we went with it.”
'Hey, we have something here.'
Made in Oregon, it took several attempts to get the recipe right.
“It was trial and error,” recalled Snyder. “Everyone had what a Moscow Mule tastes like in their mind and we used that as a comparison, altering different proportions of lemon, honey and ginger. I made three trips to the brewery and it took a few months before we could say, ‘Hey, we have something here.’”
Reed's sugar-free mule comes in two can sizes: 12 oz and 16 oz, at 140 calories and 185 calories, respectively. The drink is naturally brewed with a light flavor profile, caffeine-free, keto-friendly and has seven percent alcohol.
Aside from the Ready to Drink Mule, Reed’s offers four different ginger beers, two ginger ales, three types of ginger candies and a ginger-based energy shot to choose from.
“Ginger is a superfood,” said Snyder. “It’s plant-based and has been used throughout the world for centuries as beneficial to health. I never noticed until I started working here how many people order ginger beer or ale on flights to help with nausea.
“Ginger helps boost the immune system, calms nausea, is good for digestive health and is an overall antioxidant. I was a consumer long before I became an employee!”
The flowering plant whose root has long been used as a spice and in folk medicine has many different types and its heat, flavor and benefits depend on when and where it is harvested.
“Most of the ginger you find in grocery stores comes from China,” said Snyder, “but it has a different flavor profile and strength. The best one to use for drinks is from Peru.”
Which is, of course, where Reed’s harvests the ginger used in its beers and ales.
The ginger used in Reed’s candy? It’s from Indonesia. Crystalized ginger? Fiji.
And if ginger isn’t your thing, there’s always Virgil’s, Reed’s craft soda line, which includes root beer, black cherry, lemon-lime, orange and vanilla cream flavors.
“As a kid, I couldn’t get enough root beer,” said Snyder. “It’s funny that I can get as much as I want now! It’s a great product.”
As it has with most things, coronavirus affected the beverage industry, too
“Coronavirus put strains on the non-alcoholic business in that production definitely got tight,” said Snyder.
Nevertheless, thanks to traditional food stores and national mass marketers like Walmart and Target remaining open and essential during this time, sales volume has actually increased overall.
“We sweated it out a little bit,” Snyder laughed.
Snyder also praised Norwalk for its business-friendly community.
"There's an untapped labor pool here of educated and skilled labor," he continued," and Norwalk is close to Hartford, New York City, major airports and a highway system. There are lots of real positive attributes for many businesses to be here."
In celebration of the launch, Reed’s Inc. and Full Sail Brewing Co. will be giving away a Reed’s Adventure Pack valued at $500 to help one lucky consumer stock up for their next adventure. Through July 15, 2020, mule lovers nationwide are invited to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win.
For more information on Reed’s Ready to Drink Moscow Mule and other Reed’s products and where to purchase them, visit Reed’s online.