Flavored sparkling water has come a long way. Sure, you've always been able to grab yourself a bottle of Schweppes, but this low-calorie category started to gain more attention as the tide turned against sugary soda. Health gurus suggested we drink more water; we collectively responded that water is boring. And so brands like LaCroix said, "Hey, look over here!" The purported health halo created a warming glow, and suddenly, everyone wanted in on the sparkling water boom. Even the beer industry saw seltzer's potential as a healthier option, and alcoholic hard seltzer was born. Now, the candy industry is looking to get in on the trend: Say hello to Jelly Belly Sparkling Water.
Launching this week, the jellybean-inspired fizzy water brand offers eight drinkable Jelly Belly flavors with "zero sugar, zero sweeteners, zero sodium and zero calories," according to the brand "only two ingredients: carbonated water and a pinch of natural flavors." The results: French Vanilla, Lemon Lime, Orange Sherbet, Pina Colada, Pink Grapefruit, Tangerine, Very Cherry, and Watermelon. And that's just the start, the company wrote, "With over 100 Jelly Belly flavors to choose from, the team is looking forward to developing many more flavor options as the brand grows."
"People know us for being really precise with our flavors," Stephen Joffer, who co-founded the new venture, further explained to Bevnet. "If you pick up a Jelly Belly bean that is pink grapefruit, you know it's going to taste like pink grapefruit, and we wanted the exact same thing with our sparkling waters."
Though these flavors are technically licensed by Jelly Belly to the Joffer Beverage Company, the whole thing is a tight-knit affair. Jelly Belly is a seventh-generation family business, and the five Joffers behind the new beverage company are part of the fam. (Becky Joffer is the sister of Jelly Belly CEO Lisa Brasher). In fact, the whole idea apparently came together at a Mother's Day party. "We were on the back patio, drinking a couple of the more popular sparkling water brands, when I said out loud, 'If only someone could nail a sparkling water with really stand-out flavors,'" Stephen Joffer said in the launch announcement. "The lightbulb came on when my dad suggested, 'Why not our own Jelly Belly flavors?'"
For the initial release, Jelly Belly Sparkling Water has partnered with the Midwest grocery chain Hy-Vee, meaning, to start, these jellybean waters will only be sold at about 265 stores across eight states. However, the company says they'll be available online at jellybelly.com "soon."
Meanwhile, one of the biggest questions is whether a jellybean brand can really make inroads selling a product billed as a healthy alternative—even if these drinks do have zero calories. "The Jelly Belly brand promises fun, flavor and quality—characteristics that we believe sparkling water drinkers are looking for—and our product delivers perfectly on that promise," Justin Joffer, another co-founder, was quoted as saying. Maybe just don't spend too much time worrying about the literal meaning of the brand name.