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Adding a buzz to water – is this a nascent trend?

Big and small US drinks players have entered this new category….

With consumers looking for more variety in their alcoholic offerings. Funny Water is a US company that sells a line of non-carbonated water with 3.75% alcohol-by-volume, believing it can appeal broadly to consumers looking for a drink that provides a light buzz and is easy to drink.

Funny Water launched in 2021 in three flavours and has since expanded to eight — including Ginger Lemon, Jalapeño Lime, Blueberry Açaí and Cucumber Mint. These lower-alcohol drinks contain zero sugar.

The brand, founded by PJ Loughran and Jake Vogel, has appointed Jarrett Malnarich as CEO. Malnarich brings over two decades of experience in the CPG category, including helping build a beverage company that was acquired by Nestlé and a coffee company that was sold to Kraft Heinz, according to a press release. He most recently served at the helm of a food tech company, Wamame Foods, which helps producers formulate plant-based proteins.

He asserts many consumers are seeking non-carbonated offerings that are lighter than hard seltzer, beer and canned cocktails.

“When we attend and offer samples and tastings at various festivals, concerts and shows, we have overwhelming positive response to the product not only with Gen Z, but with all consumers,” Malnarich says.

The business will continue expanding throughout the US and Canada this year, with plans to launch non-alcoholic Funny Water soon, according to its website.

Malnarich says his experience dealing with “regulated and non-traditional CPG products” gives him the edge needed to propel Funny Water into a new phase of growth. The executive said his last job also involved developing products that sought to redefine a category, introducing new formulations to the market and educating consumers in the process.

“In the end, it is all about executing and ensuring resources are available for the company to perform,” Malnarich said. “My approach is to continue to build off its existing foundation of distribution, retailers and consumers, doubling down on winning markets and regions while streamlining operations.”

Funny Water hopes growing out its brand and gaining a sizeable consumer base will lead to more funding opportunities, which Malnarich said would help the alcoholic water brand reach its full potential.

As the hard seltzer category has seen sales plateau since the category’s boom in 2019, companies in the beverage space have tried to pivot to capture the next big thing.

Beer giant Molson Coors launched its own non-carbonated alcoholic drink in March, Happy Thursday spiked refreshers.

The company previously told Food Dive it conducted focus groups with Gen Z consumers who indicated a preference for an alternative to hard seltzer that does not contain bubbles, as they sought to avoid bloating and burning.

Source: Food Dive