Review: Somerset Caffeinated Sparkling Water

Posted: Dec 30, 2019 at 10:25 AM (Last Updated: Dec 30, 2019 at 12:09 PM)

Covers Products: Cucumber Moroccan Mint, Grapefruit Elderflower, Peach Lemon Verbena

Somerset is a line of caffeinated sparkling waters that come in three flavors: Grapefruit Elderflower, Cucumber Moroccan Mint and Peach Lemon Verbena. The products contain no calories or sweeteners and are enhanced with 42 mg of natural caffeine per 12 oz. can.

The lineup is yet to hit the market and the company, which is based in Austin, Texas, has not published a specific launch date on its web site or social media channels. The company hasn’t announced an official launch date, so it’s possible the products we tasted in this review may be changed before they are available to purchase.

All three flavors have a light, crisp and enjoyable profile. They’ve done a nice job of using flavors that work well without sweetness, and we appreciate that they’ve created flavors that are a bit more sophisticated and original than the standard fruit varieties you’ll find in most flavored sparkling waters.

From our perspective, Grapefruit Elderflower and Cucumber Moroccan Mint are spot on in terms of their formulations. They are balanced, flavorful and authentic. On the other hand, the peach in the Peach Lemon Verbena variety tastes like added flavoring and is  something we could live without.

As for adding caffeine, we like this approach, at least in terms of it potentially putting Somerset in a slightly less crowded category than regular flavored sparkling water. In addition, 42 mg, which is on par with a can of soda, seems like an acceptable amount for a product of which consumers are likely to consume more than one. 

Let’s move on to the packaging and branding. This unfortunately is the area where Somerset really needs some help. The current design of the label features a top half that’s loaded with text on a white background and a bottom half that features a stack of abstract blue lines. It’s hard on the eyes and looks  incomplete. 

Honestly, it’s pretty hard to offer advice to fix this design. In our opinion, it needs a significant makeover and starting fresh might be the best approach. We’re not being harsh -- rather, this space is quite competitive and in reality we believe consumers will choose a more polished (and less text heavy) product over this one. 

In the end, Somerset has done well in the execution of the liquid, which only needs a few tweaks, but we fear the current branding and design is going to hold this line back.


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