Barley Water and Pickle Juice Make a Splash in Functional Drinks


Two healthy beverage newcomers are turning heads-with barley and pickle.

Photo courtesy of Deo


Two healthy-beverage newcomers are turning heads-with barley and pickle.

Deo's Barley Water debuted earlier this year. The company is not the first to sell a ready-to-drink (RTD) barley water-British brand Robinsons also sells one-but according to Deo, its barley water is the first commercially available, RTD barley water made using “traditional brewing methods." Although barley water is a traditional beverage, it is no longer commonly consumed because it is time-intensive to make, the firm explains.

Deo describes the challenges of scaling up its first-of-its-kind water. “It had never been made before, so there were no experts who knew how to scale,” a company representative says. “Those copackers that could brew tea were at a loss of how to apply their equipment to barley, which grows to three to four times its original size when brewed, and clogs pipes.”

Ultimately, the company solved the problem by finding a copacker with experience bottling fruit preserves and beverages. “By combining the two systems, we were able to run the barley slurry over a vibrating screen, which allowed for separation and for the nutritionally beneficial barley particulate to be included in the beverage, as if you had made it on the stove top,” the rep continues. “This new method was something that neither beverage copackers or microbreweries were able to do.”

Deo is sold in specialty stores like Lassen’s and Pacific Health Foods, as well as at fitness centers in California. Made with whole, non-GMO barley grains and natural extracts and organic cane sugar, the drink is marketed to help promote a healthy digestive system, maintain skin elasticity, and boost immune and heart health. Packaged in upscale bottles, it comes in three flavors: lemon, ginger lemon honey, and pear lemon mint.

In Q4 2015, The Pickle Juice Company unveiled an all-natural version of its RTD pickle juices and pickle-juice shots, which target the sports nutrition market. 100% Natural Pickle Juice Sport is promoted to help relieve muscle cramps because, according to the firm, the natural juice “contains 10 times more electrolytes than the average sports drink.”

(The original version of Pickle Juice contains up to 890 mg of electrolytes per 8-oz bottle, and  Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shot contains up to 490 mg of electrolytes per 2.5-oz bottle.)

“Fifty percent of our population gets muscle cramps, with athletes, elderly, and outdoor workers being the most susceptible,” said Filip Keuppens, director of sales and marketing, in a press release. “100% Natural Pickle Juice Sport is an effective, all-natural recipe made with key ingredients that are scientifically proven to block the neurological signal that triggers muscle cramps.”

The company points to a small, 2010 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise exploring the efficacy of pickle brine for muscle cramping. The researchers concluded that pickle juice, compared to water, may help inhibit muscle cramps in dehydrated athletes.

As for the drink’s flavor, “Many people have described it as a crisper, cleaner pickle brine,” Keuppens says. “The flavor is driven by the functional ingredients of vinegar, salt, and the fortification ingredients,” including zinc, potassium, and vitamins C and E.


Also read:

2015 Drink Pioneers: The Next Generation (Slideshow)

Six Trends Driving the Sports Drinks Market

Energy Drinks Are Still Going Strong


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine


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