I’m not an enormous seltzer particular person. Whereas the remainder of the world seemingly went mad for LaCroix and White Claw, I planted my flag by my filtered water pitcher, sniffing, “What’s the massive deal?” To me, flavored seltzer by no means tastes nearly as good because it smells, and unflavored, it’s what I think about tv static to style like.
That stated, I can’t get sufficient of Sanzo, a brand new sparkling water model from New York. Based in 2019 by Queens-born Filipino American Sandro Roco, the corporate affords three Asian-inspired flavors: Lychee, Mango, and Calamansi. Every candy-colored can features a Lichtenstein-esque silhouette of the fruit it comprises, and every drink comes with no added sugar and simply sufficient fruit puree to tint the liquid a pleasant pastel shade. “With [seltzers], the carbonation leads as an alternative of the flavour,” says Roco. “However we thought the fruits have been scrumptious and they need to be first.”
Sanzo’s drinks are flippantly carbonated—there are not any aggressive, bloat-inducing bubbles right here—however fizzy sufficient to enrich the fruit-forward end. My favourite is the Mango, made with alphonso mango puree, which is nectareous and barely floral—like a actual mango needs to be.
Roco stated he aimed to get the flavors as genuine and true-to-life as potential, noting some shoppers could be experiencing flavors like Calamansi, a Southeast Asian citrus fruit that’s someplace between a lime and an orange, for the primary time.
Roco, whose earlier pursuits included nuclear engineering and Wall Avenue, created Sanzo after what he deemed the “summer time of La Croix” in 2018. With Loopy Wealthy Asians and BTS dominating well-liked tradition, he noticed a chance to convey cultural influences into the sparkling water class. Roco self-financed the launch from his 500-square-foot studio, Zipcar-ing Sanzo orders to eating places and promoting by way of his website.
Sanzo introduced a $1.3 million fundraise in August 2020, with the likes of Away CEO Jen Rubio and Adobe chief product officer Scott Belsky investing. This August, Roco added San Francisco VC agency Hyphen Capital, which focuses on supporting AAPI-founded startups, and actor Simu Liu (sure, Marvel’s Shang-Chi) to its checklist of buyers. Liu joined Sanzo’s cap desk in tandem with the model’s reveal of limited-edition Lychee cans that includes the movie’s 4 leads. 5 p.c of gross sales from the $39.99 Shang-Chi 12-packs will donated to CAPE, an AAPI-representation in leisure advocacy group.
As for what’s subsequent for the model, Roco says there’s no scarcity of taste ideas from his clients. The purpose is to remain genuine, but in addition accessible, because the model grows.
“We’re balancing what’s commercially possible and a worth level that stays accessible,” he stated. “Finally, we need to bridge cultures. There’s the flexibility to be that style of house for Asian Individuals throughout the diaspora, but in addition, to be a supply of discovery for individuals who won’t have skilled [these flavors] earlier than.”
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