USA – Liquid Death, a canned water maker that launched its operations last year, has raised US$9 million in a Series A funding round led by Velvet Sea Ventures.

The funding round also saw the participation of other first-time investors including Jamie Siminoff, Jake Strom and Blake Mycoskie Sophia Amoruso and Thrive Market CEO Nick Green, bringing the company’s total funding to US$11.25 million.

Liquid Death was co-founded by Mike Cessario with a goal of creating a brand that is healthy and sustainable while being “just as exciting, if not more exciting, than energy drinks, soda, alcohol and candy.”

The brand made its first entry into retail last spring introducing an innovative canned water branded product under the tagline “murder your thirst” as well as a generally tongue-in-cheek approach to marketing, including aggressive, heavy metal-influenced art.

Cessario and his team have put significant emphasis on branding – a stronghold which the co-founder explains that when it comes to food and beverage products, branding is the biggest differentiator.

“With a brand like Liquid Death, we kind of wanted to launch the brand on our own terms and prove there’s a lot of people who wanted it before we were going to go into the more traditional retail channels where you have to be selling it in and convincing buyers it’s going to be good,” he adds.

Cessario, Liquid Death’s CEO, said that with the new funding the company will focus on building out its sales team ahead of national expansion in retail and on-premise outlets this year as well as increase its manufacturing output.

The brand is currently available in about 2,000 accounts nationwide including retail chains such as 7-Eleven and on-premise locations including bars and nightclubs.

In March, Liquid Death plans to roll out in Whole Foods stores nationwide and further introduce its first new SKU, an unflavored sparkling water available in a black and gold can.

Though the brand identity may at first seem out of place in the natural channel, Cessario the product has had a “massive halo effect” with a variety of consumers, reports BevNet.