Review: Unity Hemp and Adaptogen Infused Beverages
Covers Products: Blackberry Tea, Blood Orange Hibiscus, Strawberry Lemonade
Unity is a line of non-carbonated low calorie beverages that are infused with hemp and adaptogens. Available in a variety of fruit flavors, each 14 ounce bottle of Unity contains only 30 calories and 5 grams of sugar.
The flavor lineup includes Strawberry Lemonade, Elderflower Rose, Blueberry Lavender, Ginger Lemonade, Blackberry Tea and Blood Orange Hibiscus. For the purposes of this review, we took a look at three of those: Blood Orange Hibiscus, Strawberry Lemonade, and Blackberry Tea.
First, let’s talk about what’s in the bottle. The products use juice (although the percentage is not disclosed on the label) along with natural flavorings. To keep the sugar and calories down, Unity uses a blend of beet sugar, erythritol and stevia. Each bottle contains a range of functional ingredients including 30mg of hemp extract, 45mg of ashwagandha, 35mg of ginkgo biloba and 30mg of rhodiola rosea.
Fortunately, the liquid also tastes pretty good and the flavor profiles feel like they were formulated with the mainstream consumer in mind. They feel like a slight throwback to the early days of SoBe -- lightly sweet, refreshing, and approachable fruit flavors -- but with a modernized set of functional ingredients and an eye towards the low sugar/calories trend.
Of the three flavors that we sampled, the Blood Orange Hibiscus and Strawberry Lemonade have a relatively similar fruit-forward recipe that still manages to be light in body. The aforementioned juice helps with the accuracy of the fruit flavors. Plus, they’ve done a really good job of hiding both the sweeteners and the functional ingredients.
The third flavor that we sampled, Blackberry Tea, tastes like a riff on a classic raspberry tea. The tea plays a secondary role to the blackberry juice, which is fine, but it does seem to expose the sweetener flavors a bit more than the other two SKUs.
Moving on to the packaging, the 14 ounce glass bottle has a plain white cap and there’s a pressure sensitive label around the midsection of the container. The design features a large red U shape that features the word “UNITY” in white stacked vertically on its left side. On the right side of the U is a large callout for “30mg Hemp” and a smaller callout for “+Adaptogens.” Down at the bottom is a single line of text for the flavor name -- and each flavor also gets its own unique background color to help give the consumer a visual cue.
The design of the side of the bottle, which has the text “Calm the F* down,” feels more polished and minimalist rather than something with a ton of edge and personality. In addition, the aggressive callout for hemp might relegate it to a more narrow niche than intended, especially considering that the drink has some other merits, such as flavor and low calories and sugar, that aren’t promoted on the label. This seems like a bit of a missed opportunity, in our opinion.
Overall, Unity is one of the better tasting and more polished looking hemp infused products that we’ve tasted lately. But we think a bit of adjustment to the label copy might help the brand to broaden its consumer base.