Review: GT’s Aqua Kefir
Covers Products: Coconut Lime 2019, Grapefruit, Peach Pineapple 2019, Pear Ginger 2019, Pear Ginger Lemon, Pomegranate
GT’s Aqua Kefir is a six-SKU line of water kefir beverages that are positioned as “sparkling probiotic drinks.” While these products aren’t kombucha, which GT’s is obviously known for, they might be the company’s most mainstream offerings to date.
The line is available in six flavors, including Coconut Lime, Peach Pineapple, Pear Ginger, Pomegranate, Orange Peach Mango and Pink Grapefruit (with the latter two being exclusives for Trader Joe’s). Each is packaged in 16 oz. glass bottles and contain 40 to 60 calories and 10 to 16 grams of sugar per bottle, depending on the SKU.
Instead of a kombucha SCOBY, these products have a water kefir base that’s made from water, sugar and non-dairy kefir grains; From there, the products are paired with with fruit juices. The end result is something that’s effervescent, light in body and crisp in finish while still being big on flavor. The fermentation’s impact on flavor is minimal, with only a slight bite coming through.
When it comes to individual flavors and formulations, these products definitely live up to what we’ve come to expect from GT’s in terms of its quality and thoughtfulness. While you won’t find all six flavors in the same cooler because of the two Trader Joe’s exclusives, we do think that the complete line offers some really nice variety.
This starts with Grapefruit and Pomegranate, which have the most pronounced and clean juice flavors. Grapefruit is flavored exclusively with grapefruit juice and has bright citrus notes,while Pomegranate has both pomegranate and cranberry juices and is quite tart.
There are also three flavors that feature tropical fruits. These include Peach Pineapple, Orange Peach Mango and Coconut Lime. Of these three, the highlight for us is Peach Pineapple, which includes a light note of turmeric. The spice is a nice complement to the water kefir and is something we’d love to see more of in the future.
We’d say the same for the final flavor, Pear Ginger. Utilizing lemon, ginger and pear juices, the product starts out with a note of sweet pear flavor and finishes up with some nice ginger spice.
Visually, the products follow the same format, both in the choice of bottle and design of the label, as GT’s other beverage products. The labels are white with metallic ink and whimsical illustrations throughout. In the middle of the front panel, you’ll find the GT’s Living Foods logo at the top; below that there’s a large area devoted to the Aqua Kefir Logo, the tagline “sparkling probiotic drink” and the flavor name.
There are also additional descriptive words (e.g. “organic,” “raw,” “unfiltered”) that are placed inside one of the outer circular bands surrounding the logo. Fortunately, these don’t take away from a label that’s both attractive and easy to read. And finally, on the back of the bottle, you’ll find a paragraph of descriptive text (signed by founder/CEO GT Dave) which does a pretty good job of explaining what the product is.
While it’s going to take GT’s some time to build demand for water kefir, we think this product provides a flavor profile that is about as close to mainstream as a fermented beverage can get. It seems like something that could, in due time, help GT’s reach a secondary base of consumers that doesn’t like kombucha. In the meantime, this seems like a really well-executed product that will probably immediately click with existing kombucha consumers.
Overall, GT’s Aqua Kefir is, in our opinion, an exceptionally well-executed and positioned line extension that my just be the brand’s best work to date.