With all the great breweries in town, sometimes Philly’s wholesome non-alcoholic beverages fall to the wayside. So, a comprehensive list of the areas most thirst-quenching local concoctions.
Jin-Ja | website
Jin-Ja is an all-natural herbal delight, made with ginger (get it, “jin-ja”) cayenne pepper, lemon juice, mint, green tea and cane sugar. Sometimes simplicity is simply marvelous. As is the case with Jin-Ja, which creator Reuben Canada claims increases metabolism, improves digestion, reduces arthritic inflammation and eases nausea.
It’s sold locally at groceries like Pumpkin Market and Green Aisle Grocery, and is beginning to branch out to places like Swarthmore Co-Op. Soon, it will be a zingy staple in the region, as it is healthy, versatile and a little sassy—“It’s got bite.”
Hank’s Gourmet Beverages | website
This Philadelphia-based beverage company is wildly popular around the nation. Hank’s makes premium beverages, mostly sparkling sodas. The gourmet sweet treats range from Black Cherry to Birch Beer, and can be purchased almost anywhere, from your local Acme to the Mom-and-Pop down the street.
Hank’s uses natural cane sugar, which adds that “gourmet” kick to the fancy bottles. The sodas are sold by the bottle, or in 4-packs, and there’s a flavor to suit every sweet-tooth!
Ayala Herbal Water | website
Ayala herbal water is nationally-available and organically certified—somewhat of a rarity in the era of sugary energy drinks. Offered in both still and sparkling flavors, Ayala offers something for everyone, from the crazy lemongrass mint vanilla, to cinnamon orange peel. Ayala has zero calories, which is surprising considering the lack of artificial goo in the water!
The creator, Dr. Ayala is an advocate of healthy living and healthy eating, as is evident by her blog, and the delicious herbal Ayala creations!
EVR | website
How do the French fight off heart disease, while regularly consuming the world’s most delicious fatty foods, like foie gras, chocolate croissants and brie? Many say red wine is the answer. However, it’s really the power of grapes’ antioxidant component, resveratrol, in red wine that gives the alcoholic beverage nutritional value.
But EVR has all the wonderful antioxidants of red wine, without the hangover. In fact, EVR’s creators say one bottle has the same amount of resveratrol as an entire case of red wine. EVR is a zero-calorie all-natural beverage that packs all the punch a healthy juice should. It also comes in a variety of great flavors: pomegranate, wild berry and grape.
Locally manufactured, it can be found easily, at places like Di Bruno Brothers and even Superfresh. Drink up and live long!
Skinny Water | website
Skinny Water is a great way to stay, well, skinny! The drink has 0 calories, like water, but also enough vitamins and minerals to scare off any cold. There are a variety of flavors, like XXX-detox, shape and crave control.
The company is based in Bala Cynwyd, PA, but has expanded all over the country, and is regularly featured in magazines like Allure and Women’s Health. Its claim-to-fame is the water’s great taste and purified punch, derived from ingredients like potassium and ginseng. The beverage has no preservatives, but has the power to maintain healthy hydration, all using the flavors and colors derived from fruits and vegetables.
Skinny Water regularly hosts lots of events which promote healthy living, like the High Heel Race and Skinny Fitness. The company wanted to create a beverage for calorie-conscious consumers that encouraged healthy wellness habits—and Skinny Water was born!
Steaz | website
The Healthy Beverage Company was the first to launch a full line of all-natural, certified-organic, fair trade teas. Steaz now boasts a variety of organic choices, like sparkling green teas and energy drinks.
All Steaz beverages are fair-trade, meaning the proceeds help benefit the workers who produce the products, specifically tea garden workers. The fair-trade agreements enable the workers to benefit their communities, by hiring teachers and providing clean water to their families.
In addition to its fair-trade commitment, Steaz uses only organic products in its beverages, ensuring its consumers are not exposed to harmful, cancer-causing pesticides and insecticides. The beverages are delicious, healthy alternatives to the classic soda and energy drink options.
Fruice | website
Fruice is a 100 percent natural beverage that combines the benefits of whole organic grains and fruit. Its marketed for children, but the convenient smoothie-in-a box has real benefits for adults, too. On average, adults need 25 grams of fiber daily, but generally, according to the American Dietetic Association, we only consume 15 grams daily. However, incorporating more whole grains and fruits (like the delicious Fruice smoothie combinations) it’s easy to get the extra 10 grams.
Children can experience bone and muscle growth complications with a low-fiber diet, and a high juice and fruit drink intake. However, Fruice provides the vitamins, minerals and fiber that simple sugars cannot. Kids can’t say no to the “Cheerful Cherry” and “Playful Peach” flavors, and adults can certainly benefit from the fiber-friendly drinkable snack, Fruice!
Bai | website
Bai is a line of new “antioxidant infusions.” A fairly new addition to the beverage market, Bai utilizes a unique part of the coffee plant: the fruit. Coffee plants produce coffee berries (or coffee cherries), at the center of which is the beloved coffee bean. The berries pack the same high-energy punch the beans do, but they’re a sweeter, antioxidant alternative to just the bean on its own.
Bai has a variety of flavors—Tanzanian strawberry, Jamaican blue berry—which boast 50 times the antioxidant power of one gram of raw pomegranate. All Bai energy juices are 100 percent natural, and lack the bitterness of the roasted coffee bean, but retain the zingy effects.
Phenolic acids and other antioxidant-rich components make the berry a healthful alternative to the stripped-down, processed bean product (AKA coffee), but maintain the benefits of consuming caffeinated beverages, providing 70mg of caffeine, the same as a cup o’ joe.
The beverage has a strong presence in the Northeast, as it is based in Princeton, NJ, but has plans to sell nationally in 2011.
Bot | website
Bot beverages are a line of all-natural enhanced waters based in Princeton, N.J. The boutique beverage company uses all-natural ingredients to produce tasty lo-cal flavored waters. Bot flavors provide antioxidants, b-vitamins and electrolytes for only 25 calories. Producers use pure cane sugar—no sodium or high fructose corn syrup—which gives the water a natural, crisp taste.
In addition, the company is committed to environmental sustainability. Bot is a member of 1% for the Planet, meaning, each year, Bot donates 1 percent of its annual revenue to an organization working to better the environment—healthy and green!
Bots can be found on the bot website (AKA “botland”), where cute little dancing bots represent the four flavors, and in Whole Foods stores.