While Spindrift founder Bill Creelman was growing up on a farm in Massachusetts, he learned the merits of unprocessed ingredients. As he got older and the rest of the world fell in love with farm-to-table-style eating, he realized that the diet sodas he had been drinking were in direct opposition with the way he was used to eating. Recognizing an opportunity to curb his aspartame habit, Creelman launched a soda alternative made with real fruit juice in local artisan shops just outside Boston in 2010. The result: Spindrift, a zippy, flavored sparkling water devoid of sweetness that set it apart from its cloying competitors.
The brand has since rocketed to national success, and in 2021, it entered the ever-growing RTD industry with an alcoholic version of its signature seltzer. Now that you know the basics, here are eight more things you need to know about Spindrift.
The name Spindrift has oceanic origins.
As a child, Creelman and his family spent their summers on Nantucket Island foraging for fresh beach plums or out on the water catching fish for dinner. Finding the ocean to be synonymous with refreshment, Creelman chose the name Spindrift after the spray of salt water that blows off a crashing ocean wave.
Early versions of the drink were actually sweetened with sugar.
When Creelman started tinkering around with early iterations of Spindrift, he actually started with a line of real fruit juice sodas that were sweetened with sugar. The original plan for the brand was to offer two distinct products: sodas and sugar-free sparkling waters. But in 2017, the brand discontinued its line of craft sodas, instead pivoting entirely toward the latter category. Despite the fact that the lineup of sodas had been performing well, the switch was rooted in the brand’s philosophy of creating a more healthful beverage. According to Vox, in the year following Spindrift’s move away from sodas, sales catapulted from $33 million to a whopping $100 million.
Spindrift was the first sparkling water to be made with real fruit juice.
Not only does Spindrift separate itself from competition by using real fruit juice in its beverages, but it was the first sparkling water brand to do so. During development, though, it was actually relatively difficult for Creelman to find a manufacturer willing to work with him to produce the beverage, as pulp has a tendency to easily clog production equipment. Now, the brand has production facilities on both the East and West Coasts and sources fruit from sustainable farms all over North America to squeeze into its bubbles. There are currently nine flavors of Spindrift sparkling water on the market: Pineapple, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Mango Orange, Blood Orange Tangerine, Raspberry Lime, Peach Strawberry, and Nojito, its first cocktail-inspired flavor.
Developing new flavors can take up to two years…
According to the brand, producing a new flavor takes about two years: Not only do they have to source enough of the fruit to actually make the flavor, but they have to learn how that fresh ingredient will respond to temperature changes and seasonal differences once canned. Once each recipe is solidified, the flavor is repeatedly tasted by a sensory panel consisting of three to four employees whose responsibility it is to ensure consistency and quality between batches.
… and they’re not afraid to rotate popular flavors out.
Nature has also made some flavor-related decisions for the Spindrift team: Rather than using artificial flavors when seasonal produce is unavailable or a shortage is underway, the brand will change its lineup. It discontinued the popular Cucumber, Strawberry, Cranberry Raspberry, and Blackberry flavors in April 2022, citing decreased output from harsher growing conditions caused by climate change, among other factors. The brand also vetoes flavors its customers just don’t like. In 2016, Spindrift launched a watermelon-flavored sparkling water that was panned by consumers. While the brand has said that “nothing is permanent” and “no fruit is ever off the table,” Watermelon has yet to make a comeback.
There’s more than just sparkling water on the menu now.
In addition to its lineup of sparkling waters, Spindrift also produces a collection of Lemonades and Teas. For Lemonades, the brand offers Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, and Lemon Limeade flavors while the caffeinated teas come in Mango Black Tea, Mint Green Tea, or Half Tea & Half Lemon varieties.
In 2021, the brand launched an alcoholic lineup.
With the U.S.’s hard seltzer category booming and sales of its own non-alcoholic offerings soaring, Spindrift launched its highly anticipated line of hard seltzers, Spindrift Spiked, in March 2021. According to the brand, they made the decision to expand into the category after fans told them that while they didn’t typically drink hard seltzers, they would if Spindrift made one. Made from ultra-filtered cane sugar, Spindrift Seltzer is canned at 4 percent ABV and comes in a handful of flavors: Grapefruit, Passionfruit Orange Guava, Blood Orange Tangerine, Lemon, Mango, Lime, and Pineapple, as well as Strawberry Lemonade and Half & Half. Spindrift Spiked Half & Half — which contains caffeine, albeit less than 2 ounces of coffee — joins an ever-growing list of the market’s hard teas, including Peace Tea, Monster Energy, and Dunkin’ Spiked.
Beloved flavors Cranberry Raspberry and Spiced Apple Cider are returning for fall 2023.
Despite being pulled as year-round products, fan-favorite sparkling water flavors Cranberry Raspberry and Spiced Apple Cider will be making a limited-time reappearance this year. The former flavor is a collaboration between West Coast and East Coast farmers, and contains juice from raspberries grown in the Pacific Northwest with cranberries from Massachusetts-local cranberry bogs. The Spiced Apple Cider was the brand’s first seasonal release, launched last year in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic formats. While the brand has announced that both flavors will be available sans alcohol on its website soon, it’s not yet clear whether there will be an alcoholic version of the Spiced Apple Cider to enjoy this fall.