Video: Expo West 2014 Profile — Arty Water

Think maple and birch tree water companies have lots of work to do before persuading consumers? Think the same for cactus water? From a matter of association, and the arduous steps of building a contiguous category, the challenges could be next to nothing when compared to those of artichoke water.

You read that right. Artichoke water. It’s not the leftover water after boiling the things. It’s the functional water that Howard Ketelson, the founder of Arty Water and a PhD with Alcon Laboratories, a global leader in eye care, showcased at Natural Products Expo West 2014.

To get consumers to even try the stuff, which is made with fresh artichokes, lemon, mint, apple and a soupçon of monk fruit, you’re going to need to give them a reason. And you better have some proof to back up that reason.

“Clinical evidence, scientific papers, we have been gathering that over the last six months and working with nutritionists to actually put a bank of information on our website,” Ketelson said.

In the video above, Ketelson discusses some of the health properties of artichokes that are easy to ignore when you’re more accustomed to submerging the hearts in melted butter or mayonnaise. Those health properties include vitamin C, the phytonutrient lutein/zeaxanthin, which can help prevent cataracts and age-related vision deterioration, beta-carotene, which can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease, and potassium, which can help cardiovascular health and high blood pressure and prevent stroke, according to WebMD.

Ketelson said that as the brand grows, he will flood social media with these kinds of scientifically-backed functional benefits. The Arty Water website already includes a number of other areas of focus, such as liver health, digestive issues, hangover relief, bone health, metabolic function and brain function.

He knows that he has plenty of work ahead to educate consumers, but like other offbeat water brands, he’s been encouraged by coconut water’s recent surge, which has broadened the willingness of consumers to try a different kind of water. Ketelson adds that as a participant in triathlons and marathons, he loves using coconut water for its electrolytes, especially after a race.

“I have a very intimate interaction with coconut water,” Ketelson said.

However, he also believes that coconut water is often too sugary and can result in a bloated feeling. With Arty Water, he’s aiming to get away from those elements. At Equinox in Dallas, where Ketelson instructs spin classes, he’s been sampling the product and receiving great feedback.

His next marathon: taking Arty Water from Equinox in Dallas to retail shelves, and staying there.