If you don’t think inviting someone you find attractive out for a bottle of water sounds sexy, Pura Still hopes its new product will change your mind. Pura Still is the first company to market spiked water. Launched in December of 2018, Pura Still comes in six packs. Customers may choose from three flavors: blackberry, mandarin orange, and mango. The product contains purified water, malt alcohol base, cane sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, coconut water powder, and sodium benzoate, to preserve flavor. [Fair warning: Sodium benzoate is a known carcinogen.] Most importantly, Pura Still is 4.5 percent ABV (Alcohol By Volume). The alcohol is made by fermenting malted barley extract and natural sugars, then filtering both using proprietary filtration technology. According to the Pura Still website, its water is preferred over premium vodka in national taste tests.
This product is new, but the demand for spiked nonalcoholic beverages isn’t. In 2012, Nick Shields was the manager of his great-grandfather’s beer brand, Haffenraffer. He was sitting in a bar when he saw five women consecutively order vodka sodas. Shields wanted to create a product with the lightness of vodka, using beer making methods. In 2016, he sold his first spiked seltzer, the aptly named, SpikedSeltzer to Anheuser Busch InBev. Spiked seltzer is definitely lighter than beer, and it is a popular product. SpikedSelzer alone sold twenty-five million dollars worth of seltzer during fifty-two weeks of 2018, not including bar sales. Despite the popularity of spiked seltzer, Genesee Brewing, in Rochester New York, the parent company of Pura Still, is hoping consumers will find spiked water offers advantages over spiked seltzer.
First, as the Pura Still website says, spiked water “doesn’t need bubbles to keep things interesting.” Unlike beer, it won’t cause bloating or lead to a high carbohydrate intake. Each flavor of Pura Still only contains ninety calories, and the product is gluten free. Spiked seltzer is lighter than beer or wine. Spiked water, however, could be viewed as a health product, since it allows consumers to hydrate while drinking an alcoholic beverage. That’s certainly how Pura Still is marketing the product to consumers. In her statement, Pura Still brand manager, Jessica Stainsby, said: “Pura Still creates an option for those who want to enjoy themselves without worrying about carbonation and bloating [that spiked seltzer could cause], calories, or excess sugar. You shouldn’t have to compromise your lifestyle to enjoy a drink.” Pura Still is currently sold at Trader Joe’s, Rite Aid, and Walmart. The company website offers a store locator for customers who want a six pack for any event, whether it’s for fitness or for fun.
According to the company, drinking spiked water can actually be regular part of a commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In fact, Genesee Brewing (as represented by Stainsby) says Americans’ increasing desire to make health conscious choices while choosing food and drink inspired the development of spiked water. Stainsby said, “People are prioritizing their health and wellness more than ever.”[H/T Pura Still]