Coconut water may have generated $2.3 billion in sales worldwide during 2016, but this year, it might have to slide across the bar for a "new" beverage trend in town. While maple water made its debut in 2013, it is now rising as another alternative water, a report from food and drink market research group Zenith stating that the maple water segment is projected to triple in size by 2020. All good news for Vermont-based DRINKmaple, the nation's leading maple water brand.
DRINKmaple is the drink of champions — literally. This one-ingredient, 46-nutrient-filled beverage that boasts low sugar, rich minerals, and natural hydration was born from the minds of co-founders and Ironman triathletes, Kate Weiler and Jeff Rose.
"While racing an Ironman in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, we discovered one of nature’s masterpieces: pure maple water," they said on the company website. "Created in a tree and not in a lab, it is proof of our philosophy that 'Mother Nature is the best chemist.'”
"I loved the idea that it was natural, plant-based hydration from a local, sustainable source that tasted great," Weiler said to NPR, adding that because it wasn't sold in her hometown of Saint, Albans, Vt., that was what spurred her to launch the business. "People have been drinking maple water from buckets on sap farms for hundreds of years.... We like to say that the un-trendiest beverage is now trending."
During the winter, sap in maple trees collect nutrients from the soil. When spring shines on Vermont, the sap begins to run as the days grow warmer — that's when the brand collects the sap straight from the trees, without harming the trees in the process, as DRINKmaple puts a heavy focus on sustainable tapping.
And with half the sugar of coconut water and more manganese than a cup of kale, it's no surprise this sap is sticking in the beverage industry. So much so, that in March, DRINKmaple raised about $3.9 million in a new round of funding. Earlier in May, FreshTracks Capital also tapped DRINKmaple for new investment, bringing the total up to $4.45 million. In even more exciting news, DRINKmaple also launched its sister company, DRINKmelon, with the same mission — just in another vertical to provide more variety for consumers.
"...We’ve gained so much traction around our maple water, and we anticipate the same excitement around watermelon. More and more consumers are not only looking for a delicious product, but one that is pure, organic, and nutritious. These are our standards," Weiler said to BevNet.