No, Jarritos fans, this isn’t your imagination.
New Jarritos hard sodas, dubbed “Cantaritos,” have landed in San Francisco Bay Area liquor stores this week and are already flying off the shelves, according to staff.
The elusive cans have been rolled out regionally to select locations, but if you want to sip on the drink’s 5% alcohol content—you’ll have to move fast.
Jarritos—known for its brightly colored and tropical sodas which come in 12 flavors such as guava, tamarind and mandarin—are a popular beverage among taco lovers and have cult followings on the West Coast and in Texas.
Last November, Jarritos distributor Novamex, based in El Paso, Texas, announced the soda company would partner with booze giant Anheuser-Busch to launch the newest alcoholic iteration of the popular drink. The new beverage’s Cantaritos name is a reference to traditional Mexican cocktails, typically served in small clay jars with tequila, fresh citrus juice and grapefruit soda.
“In our commitment to being proud ambassadors of Mexican culture, Novamex is proud to strengthen our brand through collaborations such as with Anheuser-Busch that expand the reach of our most popular brands and meet our consumer demand for innovative creations,” the company said in a statement.
According to the El Paso Times, the Cantaritos product will be available in 12-bottle variety packs, with mandarin and pineapple flavors sold in six-bottle packs and 25-ounce cans.
The hard sodas have been released in Texas and California, according to Tenderloin Liquor Grocery store owner Sammy Attayeb, who still had 25-ounce mandarin hard soda cans in stock on Thursday afternoon when The Standard visited.
“Places like Gilroy and Southern California have had them for a few months now,” he said. “Now, we’re starting to see them trickle into the Bay Area.”
Attayeb’s store at 62 Turk St. received a shipment on Wednesday. He says the cans have been flying off the shelves since their arrival, selling approximately five cases of his total 15 cases at a price of $5 a can in just over one day.
“I’ll probably start getting them regularly, starting next week,” said Attayeb.
On Instagram, other liquor stores in the East Bay also promoted the arrival of the new beverages.
The Queen of Sheba Market, with locations at 2286 35th Ave. in Oakland and 3027 Adeline St. in Berkeley, and the California Market, located at 1546 35th Ave. in Oakland, all posted stories to their Instagram accounts on Wednesday, announcing a limited supply of the mandarin-flavored 25-ounce cans.
Three hours after the initial post, Queen of Sheba posted a story showing half of its Cantaritos inventory had already been sold. The price at this location were listed at $10 per can.
The owner of the Queen of Sheba Market did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.
Attayeb, however, said he plans to keep his price at $5 per can, though he knows the demand is high for the new drink.
“I’m not trying to kill people’s wallets, but I know there are stores out there that are selling them at a high price right now,” he said.
The Vine—a liquor store on the outskirts of the East Bay in Antioch—stocked Cantaritos in early June after the owner drove to Southern California to buy some. Since then, the store has had trouble ordering cans in from its distributors, according to an employee who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the press.
“They probably won’t be in for another couple of weeks,” the employee told The Standard by phone. “We’re waiting on the warehouse to call us about them. Customers have been asking.”
Joel Umanzor can be reached at email@example.com