Sparkling water as the beverage of choice at social gatherings signaled, not always correctly, that the consumer was abstinent or pregnant. Be that as it may, the drink often accompanied an unfortunate and mistaken identity: “no pleasure”.
But you’ll probably notice that more and more people are bringing such non-alcoholic beverages to porch parties, park outings, and more, as the number of people who partially or completely abstain from drinking alcohol increases. According to a recent study by Statista, the consumption of alcoholic beverages by Canadians fell for the fourth consecutive year in 2020, dropping to 98.6 liters per capita, an overall reduction of 8% since 2010. And in particular, the gesture of saying no to alcohol for any reason gets a new premium brand image.
A growing tendency to forgo the sauce – not to mention the desire of younger generations to drink drinks with “personality”, as a recent Insight Partners report on the rise of sparkling water suggests – indicates that decor is planted for new kinds of fizzy sips to make a splash. Nestling in nature, high in packaging (and price), offering unexpected flavor profiles and ingredients, these aren’t the same old, mushy dishes.
“I’ve never really seen the commotion around sparkling [water]says creative and design director Jed Tallo. “I don’t know exactly why – maybe it’s a bit frivolous, like, it’s water, it’s just there to hydrate.” But Tallo admits her opinion has started to change thanks to her husband, who is a “sparkling water lover”. He always gets it everywhere we go, [and] it started to be more around me.
Since dipping his toe in the expanse of sparkling waters, Tallo has primarily developed a taste for simple options and is drawn to brands like Lark, which offers products that have a mild carbonation profile. “It became kind of a treat,” Tallo says, adding that during the pandemic, like many of us, he saw his alcohol consumption increase. “I started using sparkling water within a few days. It kind of came to my rescue.
Lark, which launched in 2020 and has the kind of low-key brand an aesthete like Tallo would gravitate towards, has been embraced by home consumers as well as the hospitality industry. Christina Veira, an instructor for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and co-owner of Toronto’s Bar Mordecai, says the cozy-chic club started offering Lark’s products as an alternative to classic club soda and Mexican sparkling water, Topo Chico.
“As we shifted our focus to indoor dining and dining services, we added Lark,” says Veira. “We wanted to offer a sparkling water that had a bit of salinity and a good texture – nothing too cloying or too salty.”
A self-confessed sparkling water obsessive, Veira adds that last Christmas she asked for – and received – an Aarke water carbonator. The Swedish company’s philosophy, according to its website, is to design “premium home essentials designed to elevate daily routines.” We can certainly see this ambition to offer a luxurious take on a historically humble moisturizer sneaking into tony grocery stores, hip lifestyle boutiques and even brewpubs and dispensaries.
A number of cannabis-infused soft drinks have hit the market since consumables were legalized, and Tallo points out that his local brewery, Prince Edward County’s Matron Fine Beer, recently reintroduced its ABV-free fizzy drink Eau Well. There are also sparkling waters that contain adaptogens, which are natural substances including plants like ginseng and several varieties of mushrooms believed to have health benefits. For a taste of these products, head to Toronto Daydream Drinks. Brooklyn-based Kin Euphorics — a “wellness drink” company that counts model Bella Hadid as a co-founder and partner — also offers adaptogenic seltzers, but they can currently only be found in the United States.
Today, the options for improving water and its ramifications can seem overwhelming and sometimes far-fetched. Kin Euphorics, for example, claims that its products’ “functional formulas and euphoric actives evoke cosmic energy” (try not to be too shocked when I tell you you can buy its products at Goop). But there are two emerging Canadian brands trying to keep things simple in the name of consumer friendly.
The Sapsucker brand of organic maple water is one of them. “We pride ourselves on being premium,” says Tim Lute, who previously served as CEO at Sapsucker, spent years at Coca-Cola. “We really want to disrupt this space, and we feel we have a differentiated offering.” Sapsucker’s tagline is “Refreshing by Nature,” and Lute says the new sap note, combined with classic citrus flavors such as lemon, lime, and orange, drove product development to ” reduce carbonation to bring the [flavour] forward profile. We call it the subtle bubble.
For sisters Katie Fielding and Andrea Grand, co-founders of new Toronto-based beverage brand Barbet, their “delicately bubbly sparkling water” needed to be a drink people would be happy to kick back and enjoy anytime and anywhere. or.
Fielding, who has epilepsy, made the decision to quit alcohol after suffering a particularly severe seizure in March 2020. It’s not something my 10-year-old cousin would drink,” she says.
The duo called on sparkling water fans in their entourage as well as mixologists to organize workshops and test ideas. Soon, Fielding and Grand landed on flavor combinations ranging from grapefruit, ginger, and juniper to blood orange, citrus calamansi, and jalapeno pepper as appeals to teetotalers of all kinds — as well as anyone who wanted to use their concoctions as unexpected cocktail mixers. The drinks are colorful, just like the whimsical multicolored cans they come in.
Fittingly, Fielding and Grand hired famed fashion, art and music photographer Maya Fuhr to film their launch footage, and the results – scenes evoking playful party moments – hit the right notes in terms of “A bubble out of the ordinary” towing bag from the brand. slogan. “I think it really fits that ethos that I’m noticing a lot in the sparkling water category right now,” says Grand of Barbet’s approach. “Which one is [that] it is not a compromise.
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