The newscycle has been a horror show for the past several months. We’re inundated with coronavirus news and while much it’s crucial and helpful, it isn’t any less taxing on our mental health. It’s important to remember that new companies are launching and existing companies are still bringing innovative products to market.
Keeping up to date on new brands, products and where companies stand on social issues is also important. Eventually, restaurants, bars, lounges, nightclubs, entertainment venues, hotels and stadiums will be able to reopen safely at full strength. The survival of hospitality industry pros, owners and operators, the industry and our economy depends on that day coming as fast as possible (responsibly, of course).
When that day comes, it will be necessary for operators and team members to be current on new products, where guests stand on certain brands, and consumer trends. Offering the products that guests crave will be crucial to drawing them through the doors and generating revenue. Below is a roundup of new beverages focused on health, wellness and innovation.
Newest to market on this list and just in time for summer is Volley, the first-ever tequila-based seltzer. Volley sources their 100-percent blue agave tequila from the highlands of Jalisco, proudly eschewing mixto. The fruits and roots that flavor each can of this brand-new RTD are sourced from Mexico (limes and mangoes), Texas (grapefruits), and Peru (ginger).
The brand rejects so-called natural flavors: you won’t find “natural” flavors, “natural” essences, concentrates, corn syrup, fermented cane sugar, or added sugars in a can of Volley. Instead, the company blends their tequila with real organic juice.
Volley has partnered with Leave No Trace, supporting the non-profit organization dedicated to protecting outdoor spaces through donations. The RTD brand also organizes and funds public space cleanups.
Each can weighs in at 100 to 110 calories and 5.25 percent ABV. Volley is gluten- and added sugar-free. Available flavors are Zesty Lime, Tropical Mango, Sharp Grapefruit, and Spicy Ginger.
Health-Ade Booch Pop
Fans of healthy fizzy drinks know Health-Ade very well: the brand produces 16 flavors of small-batch, bubbly kombucha. As they describe the lineup on their website, there’s “a flavor for every vibe.” Now Health-Ade has entered the soda space with Booch Pop.
The three flavors of Booch Pop—Ginger Fizz, Lemon+Lime and Pom-Berry—are blends of kombucha, real fruit, prebiotics and minerals. A can of Ginger Fizz and has just 40 calories, 11 grams of total carbs, and six grams of total sugars. One can of Lemon+Lime is also only 40 calories with 11 grams of total carbs but has nine grams of total sugars. A Pom-Berry can is 60 calories and has 14 grams of total carbs as well as 11 grams of total sugars.
Digestive system and microbiome health are two major focuses of this healthy soda alternative brand. The list of ingredients used by Olipop to make their sodas is intriguing.
There’s marshmallow root to relieve mild digestive discomfort; calendula which has many soothing effects and health benefits; fiber-rich casava root that acts as a prebiotic; slippery elm bark which is a soothing antioxidant; prebiotic and calming kudzu root; chicory root which is well known for several digestive system benefits; antioxidant-, fiber- and carotenoid-rich napal cactus; and Jerusalem artichoke, a source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, iron and potassium. Olipop is also made with strawberries, green tea, stevia, ginger, vanilla, lemon, cinnamon, and pink rock salt.
Each can is non-GMO, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and has nine grams of fiber and just three net carbs, two to three grams of sugar, and 30 calories. Compared to other brands in this list, Olipop’s flavor lineup isn’t as extensive (yet). However, the lineup consists of riffs on familiar classics: Vintage Cola, Classic Root Beer, Cherry Vanilla, Strawberry Vanilla, and Ginger Lemon.
This traditional soda alternative is made with apple cider vinegar. Poppi says each can has roughly one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar “mother,” meaning it’s pure, unfiltered, and contains prebiotic and polyphenols.
Of course, as anyone who has drunk apple cider vinegar can attest, the flavor and aroma are very strong. The husband and wife team behind Poppi worked hard to mitigate those powerful elements with natural sweeteners. According to their website, Poppi uses only natural ingredients, nothing fake. In addition to being all natural, the company says its sodas aid digestion, help to lower cholesterol, regulate appetite and promote weight loss, stabilize blood sugar and improve insulin response, reduce inflammation and refine complexion, and detoxify the body.
Poppi’s flavor lineup is deep and refreshing, and the can designs are bright and whimsical: Orange, Lime Ginger, Strawberry Lemon, Raspberry Rose, Blueberry, Pineapple Mango, and Beach Tea. Two variety packs, Beach Party and Soda Sequel, offer a variety of Poppi flavors.
Not only are the sodas this brand produces a healthier alternative to their traditional counterparts, United Sodas cans have an appealing minimalist vibe. The company creates proprietary flavor recipes; uses a three-ingredient blend consisting of cane sugar, organic stevia, and organic erythritol (a plant-derived carbohydrate the company says has no effect on blood sugar) to sweeten their sodas; and doesn’t use chemical stabilizers.
Each can has just 30 calories, seven net carbs, zero caffeine, is allergen- and gluten-free while also being vegan, and BPA-free and recyclable.
United Sodas’ flavor lineup is extensive: Young Mango, Extra Peach, Toasted Coconut, Sour Blueberry, Blackberry Jam, White Grape, Lemon Verbena, Pear Elderflower, Strawberry Basil, Orange Nectarine, Gingery Ale, and Cherry Pop. The company also offers themed variety packs: the New Classics, the Finer Things Club, Toga Party, and the Blues.
Neither the author nor Hospitality Villains received compensation, monetary or otherwise, from these brands, their distributors or any other entity in exchange for this post.
All images belong to their respective brands.
I’ve been studying and writing about the hospitality industry since 2006. Like so many people, I started my journey in this business by working as a host, server and bartender. I was introduced to nightlife in Chicago, learning the ins and outs of nightclubs and after-hours hot spots.
After moving to Las Vegas nearly 20 years ago, I both co-owned a valet company and helped promote the club it serviced. That led to me taking on the role of editor for a Las Vegas hospitality industry publication.
A few short years later, I continued along my journey of hospitality industry reporting. I went from contributing to a major industry outlet to taking on the role of editor and content curator.